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Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones (/nɑːˈsɪər/; born September 14, 1973), better known by his stage name Nas
Nas
(/nɑːz/), is an American hip hop recording artist, rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur.[1] The son of Olu Dara, Nas
Nas
has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 25 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Mass Appeal. His musical career began in 1991, as a featured artist on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque". His debut album Illmatic
Illmatic
(1994) received universal acclaim from both critics and the hip-hop community and is frequently ranked as the greatest hip-hop album of all time.[2][3] Nas's follow-up It Was Written
It Was Written
debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in two months, and made Nas
Nas
internationally known. From 2001 to 2005, Nas
Nas
was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z. Nas signed to Def Jam
Def Jam
in 2006. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album
Best Rap Album
at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. Nas
Nas
is often named as one of the greatest hip-hop artists. MTV
MTV
ranked him at #5 on their list of "The Greatest MCs of All Time". In 2012, The Source ranked him #2 on their list of the "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time". In 2013, Nas
Nas
was ranked 4th on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list. About.com
About.com
ranked him first on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time" in 2014, and a year later, Nas
Nas
was featured on "The 10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Late 1980s–1994: Underground beginnings and album debut 2.2 1995–1997: Mainstream direction and The Firm 2.3 1998–2000: Inconsistent output 2.4 2001–2003: Dispute with Jay-Z
Jay-Z
and artistic comeback 2.5 2004–2006: Double album and Def Jam 2.6 2006–2008: Politicized efforts and controversies

2.6.1 Bill O'Reilly and Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech
controversy

2.7 2009–present: Collaboration, Life Is Good and upcoming eleventh studio album

3 Artistry 4 Business ventures 5 Personal life 6 Awards and nominations

6.1 Grammy Awards 6.2 MTV
MTV
Video Music Awards 6.3 BET
BET
Hip Hop Awards 6.4 Sports Emmy Award

7 Discography 8 Filmography 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Early life Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones[4] was born on September 14, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York.[5][6] His father, Olu Dara (born Charles Jones III), is a jazz and blues musician, from Mississippi. His mother, Fannie Ann (Little) Jones, was a Postal Service worker from North Carolina.[7] He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who is best known as "Jungle", a member of the hip-hop group Bravehearts. His father took his name "Olu Dara" from the Yoruba people.[8] His African DNA indicates he has roots in countries with high Yoruba populations Nigeria, Benin, Togo
Togo
and Ghana
Ghana
– as well as Mali, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, South Africa, and Senegal. His matrilineal DNA haplogroup is of African origin, found among the Yoruba[9] and Fulbe populations in Western Africa.[8] As a young child, Nas
Nas
and his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses in the Long Island City
Long Island City
neighborhood of Queens. His neighbor, Willy "Ill Will" Graham, influenced his interest in hip hop by playing him records.[10] His parents divorced in 1985,[10] and he dropped out of school after the eighth grade.[6] He educated himself about African culture through the Five Percent Nation
Five Percent Nation
and the Nuwaubian Nation.[11] In his early years, he played the trumpet and began writing his own rhymes.[12] Career Late 1980s–1994: Underground beginnings and album debut Further information: Illmatic As a teenager, Nas
Nas
enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willy "Ill Will" Graham as his DJ. Nas
Nas
initially went by the nickname "Kid Wave" before adopting his more commonly known alias of "Nasty Nas". In the late-1980s, he met up with the producer Large Professor and went to the studio where Rakim
Rakim
and Kool G Rap
Kool G Rap
were recording their albums. When they were not in the recording studio, Nas
Nas
would go into the booth and record his own material. However, none of it was ever released.[13][14] In 1991, Nas
Nas
performed on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque". In mid-1992, Nas
Nas
was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas
Nas
a record deal with Columbia Records during the same year. Nas
Nas
made his solo debut under the name of "Nasty Nas" on the single "Halftime" from MC Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead.[6] Called the new Rakim,[15] his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community. In 1994, Nas's debut album, Illmatic, was finally released. It was awarded best album of 1994 by The Source.[16] It also featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, LES and DJ Premier, as well as guest appearances from Nas's friend AZ and his father Olu Dara. The album spawned several singles, including "The World Is Yours", "It Ain't Hard to Tell", and "One Love". Shaheem Reid of MTV News called Illmatic
Illmatic
"the first classic LP" of 1994.[17] In 1994, Nas also recorded the song "One on One" for the soundtrack to the film Street Fighter.[18] In his book To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic, William Jelani Cobb writes of Nas's impact at the time:

Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date. [...] Nas
Nas
never became 'the next Rakim,' nor did he really have to. Illmatic
Illmatic
stood on its own terms. The sublime lyricism of the CD, combined with the fact that it was delivered into the crucible of the boiling East-West conflict, quickly solidified [his] reputation as the premier writer of his time.[19]

Steve Huey of AllMusic described Nas's lyrics on Illmatic
Illmatic
as "highly literate" and his raps "superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary", adding that Nas
Nas
is "able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times".[20] Reviewing Nas's second album It Was Written, Leo Stanley of allmusic believed the rhymes to be not as complex as those in Illmatic
Illmatic
but still "not only flow, but manage to tell coherent stories as well".[21] About.com
About.com
ranked Illmatic
Illmatic
as the greatest hip-hop album of all time,[2] and Prefix magazine praised it as "the best hip-hop record ever made".[3] 1995–1997: Mainstream direction and The Firm Further information: It Was Written
It Was Written
and The Firm (hip hop group) Columbia Records
Columbia Records
began to press Nas
Nas
to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of The Notorious B.I.G., who had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained radio-friendly appeal. In 1995, Nas
Nas
did guest performances on the albums Doe or Die
Doe or Die
by AZ, The Infamous
The Infamous
by The Infamous
The Infamous
Mobb Deep, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon
Raekwon
and 4,5,6 by Kool G Rap. Nas
Nas
also parted ways with manager MC Serch, enlisted Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second LP, It Was Written, consciously working towards a crossover-oriented sound. It Was Written, chiefly produced by Tone and Poke of Trackmasters, was released in mid-1996. Two singles, "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" (featuring Lauryn Hill of The Fugees) and "Street Dreams", including a remix with R. Kelly were instant hits.[22] These songs were promoted by big-budget music videos directed by Hype Williams, making Nas
Nas
a common name among mainstream hip-hop. It Was Written
It Was Written
featured the debut of The Firm, a supergroup consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega. The album also expanded on Nas's Escobar persona, who lived a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle. On the other hand, references to Scarface protagonist Tony Montana notwithstanding, Illmatic
Illmatic
was more about his early life growing up in the projects.[6] Signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment
Aftermath Entertainment
label, The Firm began working on their debut album. Halfway through the production of the album, Cormega
Cormega
was fired from the group by Steve Stoute, who had unsuccessfully attempted to force Cormega
Cormega
to sign a deal with his management company. Cormega
Cormega
subsequently became one of Nas's most vocal opponents and released a number of underground hip hop singles "dissing" Nas, Stoute, and Nature, who replaced Cormega
Cormega
as the fourth member of The Firm.[23] Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album was finally released in 1997 to mixed reviews. The album failed to live up to its expected sales, despite being certified platinum, and the members of the group disbanded to go their separate ways.[citation needed] During this period, Nas
Nas
was one of four rappers (the others being B-Real, KRS-One
KRS-One
and RBX) in the hip-hop supergroup Group Therapy, who appeared on the song "East Coast/West Coast Killas" from Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath.[24] 1998–2000: Inconsistent output See also: The Lost Tapes ( Nas
Nas
album)

Nas
Nas
in 1998

In late 1998, Nas
Nas
began working on a double album, to be entitled I Am... The Autobiography; he intended it as the middle ground between Illmatic
Illmatic
and It Was Written, with each track detailing a part of his life.[6] In 1998, Nas
Nas
co-wrote and starred in Hype Williams's 1998 feature film Belly.[6] I Am... The Autobiography was completed in early 1999, and a music video was shot for its lead single, " Nas
Nas
Is Like". It was produced by DJ Premier
DJ Premier
and contained vocal samples from "It Ain't Hard to Tell". Music critic M.F. DiBella noticed that Nas also covered "politics, the state of hip-hop, Y2K, race, and religion with his own unique perspective" in the album besides autobiographical lyrics.[25] Much of the LP was leaked into MP3 format onto the Internet, and Nas
Nas
and Stoute quickly recorded enough substitute material to constitute a single-disc release.[26] The second single on I Am... was "Hate Me Now", featuring Sean "Puffy" Combs, which was used as an example by Nas's critics accusing him of moving towards more commercial themes. The video featured Nas
Nas
and Combs being crucified in a manner similar to Jesus Christ; after the video was completed, Combs requested his crucifixion scene be edited out of the video. However, the unedited copy of the "Hate Me Now" video made its way to MTV. Within minutes of the broadcast, Combs and his bodyguards allegedly made their way into Steve Stoute's office and assaulted him, at one point apparently hitting Stoute over the head with a champagne bottle. Stoute pressed charges, but he and Combs settled out-of-court that June.[26] Columbia had scheduled to release the infringed material from I Am... under the title Nastradamus
Nastradamus
during the later half of 1999, but, at the last minute, Nas
Nas
decided to record an entire new album for the 1999 release of Nastradamus. Nastradamus was therefore rushed to meet a November release date. Though critics were not kind to the album, it did result in a minor hit, "You Owe Me".[6] In 2000, Nas
Nas
& Ill Will Records
Ill Will Records
Presents QB's Finest, which is popularly known as simply QB's Finest, was released on Nas's Ill Will Records.[6] QB's Finest is a compilation album that featured Nas
Nas
and a number of other rappers from Queensbridge projects, including Mobb Deep, Nature, Capone, the Bravehearts, Tragedy Khadafi, Millennium Thug and Cormega, who had briefly reconciled with Nas. The album also featured guest appearances from Queensbridge hip-hop legends Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan, and Marley Marl. Shan and Marley Marl
Marley Marl
both appeared on the lead single "Da Bridge 2001", which was based on Shan & Marl's 1986 recording "The Bridge".[27] Fans and critics feared that Nas's career was declining, artistically and commercially, as both I Am... and Nastradamus
Nastradamus
were criticised as inconsistent.[28] 2001–2003: Dispute with Jay-Z
Jay-Z
and artistic comeback

Nas
Nas
performing in 2003

Further information: God's Son (album) After trading veiled criticisms on various songs, freestyles and mixtape appearances, the highly publicised dispute between Nas
Nas
and Jay-Z
Jay-Z
became widely known to the public in 2001.[6] Jay-Z, in his song "Takeover", criticised Nas
Nas
by calling him "fake" and his career "lame".[29] Nas
Nas
responded with "Ether", in which he compared Jay-Z
Jay-Z
to such characters as J.J. Evans
J.J. Evans
from the sitcom Good Times
Good Times
and cigarette company mascot Joe Camel. The song was included on Nas's fifth studio album, Stillmatic, released in December 2001. His daughter, Destiny, is listed as an executive producer on Stillmatic
Stillmatic
so she can always receive royalty checks from the album.[30][31] Stillmatic
Stillmatic
peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200
Billboard 200
chart and featured the singles "Got Ur Self A..." and "One Mic". In response to "Ether", Jay-Z
Jay-Z
released the song "Supa Ugly", which Hot 97 radio host Angie Martinez premiered on December 11, 2001.[29] In the song, Jay-Z
Jay-Z
explicitly boasts about having an affair with Nas's girlfriend, Carmen Bryan.[32] New York City hip-hop radio station Hot 97 issued a poll asking listeners which rapper made the better diss song; Nas
Nas
won with 58% while Jay-Z
Jay-Z
got 42% of the votes.[33] In 2002, in the midst of the dispute between the two New York rappers, Eminem cited both Nas
Nas
and Jay-Z
Jay-Z
as being two of the best MCs in the industry, in his song 'Till I Collapse. Both the dispute and Stillmatic signalled an artistic comeback for Nas
Nas
after a string of inconsistent albums.[34] The Lost Tapes, a compilation of previously unreleased or bootlegged songs from 1997-2001, was released by Columbia in September 2002. The collection attained respectable sales and received rave reviews from critics.[35] In December 2002, Nas
Nas
released the God's Son album including its lead single, "Made You Look" which used a pitched down sample of the Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache". The album peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts despite widespread Internet bootlegging.[36] Time Magazine named his album best hip-hop album of the year. Vibe gave it four stars and The Source gave it four mics. The second single, "I Can", which reworked elements from Beethoven's "Für Elise", became Nas's biggest hit to date in 2003, garnering substantial radio airplay on urban, rhythmic, and top 40 radio stations, as well as on the MTV
MTV
and VH1
VH1
music video networks. God's Son also includes several songs dedicated to Nas's mother, who died of cancer in April 2002, including "Dance". In 2003, Nas
Nas
was featured on the Korn
Korn
song "Play Me", from Korn's Take a Look in the Mirror LP. Also in 2003, a live performance in New York City, featuring Ludacris, Jadakiss, and Darryl McDaniels
Darryl McDaniels
(of Run-D.M.C. fame), was released on DVD as Made You Look: God's Son Live. God's Son was critical in the power struggle between Nas
Nas
and Jay-Z
Jay-Z
in the hip-hop industry at the time.[37] In an article at the time, Joseph Jones of PopMatters
PopMatters
stated, "Whether you like it or not, "Ether" did this. With God's Son, Nas
Nas
has the opportunity to cement his status as the King of NY, at least for another 3-4-year term, or he could prove that he is not the savior that hip-hop fans should be pinning their hopes on."[37] After the album's release, he began helping the Bravehearts, made up of his younger brother Jungle and friend Wiz (Wizard), put together their debut album, Bravehearted. The album features guest appearances from Nas, Nashawn (Millennium Thug), Lil Jon, and Jully Black. 2004–2006: Double album and Def Jam See also: Street's Disciple Nas
Nas
released his seventh album Street's Disciple, a sprawling double album,[6] on November 30, 2004. It addressed subject matter both political and personal, including his impending marriage to recording artist Kelis.[6] The double-sided single "Thief's Theme"/"You Know My Style" was released months before the album's release, followed by the single "Bridging the Gap" upon the album's release.[6] Although Street's Disciple
Street's Disciple
went platinum, it served as a drop-off from Nas's previous commercial successes.[6] In 2005, New York-based rapper 50 Cent
50 Cent
dissed Nas
Nas
on his song "Piggy Bank", which brought his reputation into question in hip-hop circles.[6] In October, Nas
Nas
made a surprise appearance at Jay-Z's "I Declare War" concert, where they reconciled their beef.[6] At the show, Jay-Z
Jay-Z
announced to the crowd, "It's bigger than 'I Declare War'. Let's go, Esco!" and Nas
Nas
then joined him onstage,[38] and the two performed Jay-Z's "Dead presidents" (1996) together, a song that featured a prominent sample of Nas's 1994 track: "The World Is Yours" (1994).[6] The reconciliation created the opportunity for Nas
Nas
to sign a deal with Def Jam
Def Jam
Recordings, of which Jay-Z
Jay-Z
was president at the time.[6] He signed Nas
Nas
in January 2006.[39] The signing included an agreement that Nas
Nas
was to be paid about $3,000,000, including a recording budget, for each of his first two albums with Def Jam. 2006–2008: Politicized efforts and controversies See also: Hip Hop Is Dead
Hip Hop Is Dead
and Untitled Nas
Nas
album Tentatively called Hip Hop Is Dead...The N,[39] Hip Hop Is Dead
Hip Hop Is Dead
was a commentary on the state of hip-hop and featured "Black Republican", a hyped collaboration with Jay-Z.[6] The album debuted on Def Jam
Def Jam
and Nas
Nas
new imprint at that label, The Jones Experience, at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
charts, selling 355,000 copies—Nas' third number one album, along with It Was Written
It Was Written
and I Am....[40] It also inspired reactions about the state of hip-hop,[6] particularly controversy with Southern hip hop artists who felt the album's title was a criticism aimed at them.[41] Nas's 2004 song "Thief's Theme" was featured in the 2006 film The Departed.[42] Nas's former label, Columbia Records, released the compilation Greatest Hits in November.[43] On October 12, 2007, Nas
Nas
announced that his next album would be called Nigger. Both progressive commentators, such as Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
and Al Sharpton, and the conservative-aligned news channel Fox News
Fox News
were outraged; Jackson called on entertainers to stop using the epithet after comedian Michael Richards
Michael Richards
used it onstage in late 2006.[44] Controversy escalated as the album's impending release date drew nearer, going as far as to spark rumors that Def Jam
Def Jam
was planning to drop Nas
Nas
unless he changed the title.[45] Additionally, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Brooklyn
assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries requested New York's Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Thomas DiNapoli
to withdraw $84,000,000 from the state pension fund that has been invested into Universal and its parent company, Vivendi, if the album's title was not changed.[46] On the opposite side of the spectrum, many of the most famous names in the entertainment industry expressed a sense of trust in Nas
Nas
for using the racial epithet as the title of his full-length LP.[47][48] Nas's management worried that the album would not be sold by chain stores such as Wal-Mart, thus limiting its distribution.[49] On May 19, 2008, Nas
Nas
decided to forgo an album title.[50] Responding to Jesse Jackson's remarks and use of the word "nigger", Nas
Nas
called him "the biggest player hater", stating "His time is up. All you old niggas' time is up. We heard your voice, we saw your marching, we heard your sermons. We don't want to hear that shit no more. It's a new day. It's a new voice. I'm here now. We don't need Jesse; I'm here. I got this. We the voice now. It's no more Jesse. Sorry. Goodbye. You ain't helping nobody in the 'hood and that's the bottom line."[51] He also said of the album's title:

It's important to me that this album gets to the fans. It's been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it.[52] — Nas

The album was ultimately released on July 15, 2008, untitled. It featured production from Polow da Don, stic.man of Dead Prez, Sons of Light and J. Myers,[53] "Hero", the album's lead single released on June 23, 2008, reached No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
and No. 87 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[54] In July, Nas attained a shoe deal with Fila.[55] In an interview with MTV
MTV
News in July, Nas
Nas
speculated that he might release two albums: one produced by DJ Premier
DJ Premier
and another by Dr. Dre—simultaneously the same day.[56] Nas
Nas
worked on Dr. Dre's studio album Detox.[57] Nas
Nas
was also awarded 'Emcee of the Year' in the HipHopDX 2008 Awards for his latest solo effort, the quality of his appearances on other albums and was described as having "become an artist who thrives off of reinvention and going against the system."[58] Bill O'Reilly and Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech
controversy

Nas
Nas
performing in Ottawa, 2007

On September 6, 2007, Nas
Nas
performed at a free concert for the Virginia Tech student body and faculty, following the school shooting there. He was joined by John Mayer, Alan Jackson, Phil Vassar, and Dave Matthews Band.[59] When announced that Nas
Nas
was to perform, political commentator Bill O'Reilly and Fox News
Fox News
denounced the concert and called for Nas's removal, citing "violent" lyrics on songs such as "Shoot 'Em Up", "Got Urself a Gun", and "Made You Look". During his Talking Points Memo segment for August 15, 2007, an argument erupted in which O'Reilly claimed that it was not only Nas's lyrical content that made him inappropriate for the event, citing the gun conviction on Nas's criminal record.[60] In the midst of his debate with author Bakari Kitwana (The Hip Hop Generation), who defended Nas, claiming that Fox News
Fox News
had "cherry picked" select fragments of the songs to make their case, O'Reilly shouted, "Even in his personal life, man, he's got a conviction for weapons, all right? He's got a weapons conviction, sir! On his sheet! This is a school that had a mass murderer with a shotgun gunning down people—this guy has got a conviction for weapons, and you say he's appropriate? Come on!" O'Reilly repeated the claim another five times before cutting the segment short.[citation needed] On September 6, 2007, during his set at "A Concert for Virginia Tech", Nas
Nas
twice referred to Bill O'Reilly as "a chump", prompting loud cheers by members of the crowd. About two weeks later, Nas
Nas
was interviewed by Shaheem Reid of MTV
MTV
News, where he criticised O'Reilly, calling him uncivilized and willing to go to extremes for publicity.[61] Responding to O'Reilly, Nas, in an interview with MTV News, said:

He doesn't understand the younger generation. He deals with the past. The people he represents are Republican, older, a generation that has nothing to do with the reality of what's happening now with my generation. ... He's not really on my radar. People like him are supposed to be taught and people like me are supposed to let niggas like him know. I don't take him serious. His shit is all about getting facts twisted or whatever. I wouldn't honor anything Bill O'Reilly has to say. It just shows you what bloodsuckers like him do: They abuse something like the Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech
tragedy for show ratings. You can't talk to a person like that.[62]

On July 23, 2008, Nas
Nas
appeared on The Colbert Report
The Colbert Report
to discuss his opinion of O'Reilly and Fox News, which he accused of bias against the African-American community and re-challenged O'Reilly to a debate.[63] During the appearance, Nas
Nas
sat on boxes of more than 625,000 signatures gathered by online advocacy organisation Color of Change
Color of Change
in support of a petition accusing Fox of race-baiting and fear-mongering.[63] 2009–present: Collaboration, Life Is Good and upcoming eleventh studio album See also: Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives
and Life Is Good ( Nas
Nas
album) At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Nas
Nas
confirmed he was collaborating on an album with reggae singer Damian Marley
Damian Marley
which was expected to be released in late 2009. Nas
Nas
said of the collaboration in an interview "I was a big fan of his father and of course all the children, all the offspring, and Damian, I kind of looked at Damian as a rap guy. His stuff is not really singing, or if he does, it comes off more hard, like on some street shit. I always liked how reggae and hip-hop have always been intertwined and always kind of pushed each other, I always liked the connection. I'd worked with people before from the reggae world but when I worked with Damian, the whole workout was perfect".[64] A portion of the profit was planned to go towards building a school in Africa.[65] He went on to say that it was "too early to tell the title or anything like that".[66] The Los Angeles Times reported that the album would be titled Distant Relatives.[67] Nas
Nas
also revealed that he would begin working on his tenth studio album following the release of Distant Relatives.[68] During late 2009, Nas
Nas
used his live band Mulatto with music director Dustin Moore for concerts in Europe and Australia.[69]

Nas
Nas
and Damian Marley
Damian Marley
performing in New Zealand, 2011

After announcing a possible release in 2010,[70] a follow-up compilation to The Lost Tapes (2002) was delayed indefinitely due to issues between him and Def Jam.[71] His eleventh studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was produced primarily by Salaam Remi and No I.D, and released on July 13, 2012. Nas
Nas
called the album a "magic moment" in his rap career.[72]

Nas
Nas
performing at the 2015 Sugar Mountain festival, Melbourne, Australia

In 2011, Nas
Nas
announced that he would release collaboration albums with Mobb Deep, Common, and a third with DJ Premier.[73][74][75] Common said of the project in a 2011 interview, "At some point, we will do that. We'd talked about it and we had a good idea to call it Nas.Com. That was actually going to be a mixtape at one point. But we decided that we should make it an album."[76] Life is Good would be nominated for Best Rap Album
Best Rap Album
at the 2013 Grammy Awards. In January 2013, Nas
Nas
announced he had begun working on his twelfth studio album, which would be his final album for Def Jam.[77] The album was supposed to be released during 2015.[78] In October 2013, DJ Premier said that his collaboration album with Nas, would be released following his twelfth studio album.[79] In October 2013, Nas
Nas
confirmed that a rumored song "Sinatra in the Sands" featuring Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland
Timbaland
would be featured on the album.[78] On April 16, 2014, on the twentieth anniversary of Illmatic,[80] the documentary Nas: Time Is Illmatic
Illmatic
was premiered which recounted circumstances leading up to Nas's debut album.[81] It was reported on September 10, that Nas
Nas
has finished his last album with Def Jam.[82] On October 30, Nas
Nas
released a song which might have been the first single on his new album, titled "The Season", produced by J Dilla.[83] Nas
Nas
has also collaborated with the Australian hip-hop group, Bliss n Eso, in 2014. They released the track "I Am Somebody" in May 2014. Nas was featured on the song "We Are" from Justin Bieber's fourth studio album, Purpose, released in November 2015. Nas
Nas
was announced as one of the executive producers of the Netflix original series, The Get Down, prior to its release in August 2016. He narrated the series and rapped as adult Ezekiel of 1996. He also appeared on DJ Khaled's album Major Key, on a track simply titled "Nas Album Done", suggesting an upcoming album was not only completed, but also was imminent. On October 16, 2016, he received the Jimmy Iovine Icon Award at 2016 REVOLT Music Conference for having a lasting impact and unique influence on music, numerous years in the rap business, his partnership with Hennessy, and Mass Appeal imprint by Puff Daddy.[84] In November 2016, Nas
Nas
collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dave East and Aloe Blacc
Aloe Blacc
on a song called "Wrote My Way Out", which appears on The Hamilton Mixtape. On April 12, 2017, Nas
Nas
released the song Angel Dust as soundtrack for TV series The Getdown. It contains a sample of the Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron
and Brian Jackson song Angel Dust. In June 2017, Nas
Nas
appeared in the award-winning 2017 documentary The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon, where he recorded live direct-to-disc on the restored first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s.[85] He performed “On the Road Again”, a 1928 song by the Memphis Jug Band,[86] which received universal acclaim with The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
describing his performance as “fantastic”[87] and the Financial Times
Financial Times
praising his “superb cover of the Memphis Jug Band’s “On the Road Again”, exposing the hip-hop blueprint within the 1928 stomper.”[88] “On the Road Again”, and a performance of “One Mic”,[89] were released on Music from The American Epic Sessions: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on June 9, 2017.[90] Artistry Nas
Nas
has been praised for his ability to create a "devastating match between lyrics and production" by journalist Peter Shapiro, as well as creating a "potent evocation of life on the street", and he has even been compared to Rakim
Rakim
for his lyrical technique. In his book Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2009), writer Adam Bradley states, " Nas
Nas
is perhaps contemporary rap's greatest innovator in storytelling. His catalog includes songs narrated before birth ('Fetus') and after death ('Amongst Kings'), biographies ('UBR [Unauthorized Biography of Rakim]') and autobiographies ('Doo Rags'), allegorical tales ('Money Is My Bitch') and epistolary ones ('One Love'), he's rapped in the voice of a woman ('Sekou Story') and even of a gun ('I Gave You Power')."[91] Robert Christgau
Robert Christgau
writes that " Nas
Nas
has been transfiguring [gangsta rap] since Illmatic".[92] Kool Moe Dee notes that Nas
Nas
has an "off-beat conversational flow" in his book There's a God on the Mic – he says: "before Nas, every MC focused on rhyming with a cadence that ultimately put the words that rhymed on beat with the snare drum. Nas
Nas
created a style of rapping that was more conversational than ever before".[93] OC of D.I.T.C. comments in the book How to Rap: " Nas
Nas
did the song backwards ['Rewind']... that was a brilliant idea".[94] Also in How to Rap, 2Mex of The Visionaries describes Nas's flow as "effervescent",[95] Rah Digga says Nas's lyrics have "intricacy",[96] Bootie Brown
Bootie Brown
of The Pharcyde
The Pharcyde
explains that Nas
Nas
does not always have to make words rhyme as he is "charismatic",[97] and Nas
Nas
is also described as having a "densely packed"[98] flow, with compound rhymes that "run over from one beat into the next or even into another bar".[99] In 2006, Nas
Nas
was ranked fifth on MTV's "10 Greatest MCs of All Time" list.[15] In 2012, The Source ranked him No. 2 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time.[100] In 2013, Nas
Nas
was ranked fourth on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list.[101] His debut Illmatic
Illmatic
is widely considered among the greatest hip hop albums of all time.[102][103] Business ventures On April 10, 2013, Nas
Nas
invested an undisclosed six figure sum into Mass Appeal Magazine, where he will serve as the publication's associate publisher, joined by creative firm Decon and White Owl Capital Partners.[104][105] In June 2013, he opened his own sneaker store.[106][107] In September 2013, he invested in a technology startup company, a job search appmaker called Proven.[108] In 2014, Nas
Nas
invested as part of a $2.8M round in viral video startup ViralGains another addition to Queens-bridge venture partners portfolio.[109][110] Nas
Nas
has a partnership with Hennessy and has been working with their "Wild Rabbit" campaign.[111] In May 2014, Nas
Nas
partnered with job placement startup Koru to fund a scholarship for 10 college graduates to go through Koru's training program. Nas
Nas
also will be joining the startup as a guest coach.[112] Nas
Nas
is a co-owner of a Cloud-based service LANDR, an automated, drag-and-drop digital audio postproduction tool which automates "mastering", the final stage in audio production.[113] In June 2015, Nas
Nas
joined forces with New York City soul food restaurant Sweet Chick.[114] He plans to expand the restaurant brand nationally.[115][116][117][118] The Los Angeles location opened in April 2017.[119] He owns his own clothing line called HSTRY.[120] He has continued to invest heavily in technology startups including Dropbox, Lyft, and Robinhood[121]. Personal life Nas
Nas
is a spokesperson and mentor for P'Tones Records, a non-profit after school music program with the mission "to create constructive opportunities for urban youth through no-cost music programs."[122] On June 15, 1994, Nas's ex-fiancée Carmen Bryan gave birth to their daughter, Destiny.[123][124][125] She later confessed to Nas
Nas
that she had a relationship with his then-rival rapper and nemesis Jay-Z, also accusing Jay-Z
Jay-Z
of putting subliminal messages in his lyrics about their relationship together, causing an even bigger rift in the feud between the two hit rap music giants. Nas
Nas
also briefly dated Mary J. Blige.[124] In 2005, Nas
Nas
married R&B singer Kelis
Kelis
in Atlanta
Atlanta
after a two-year relationship.[126][127] On April 30, 2009, a spokesperson confirmed that Kelis
Kelis
filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[128][129] Kelis
Kelis
gave birth to Nas's first son on July 21, 2009, although the event was soured by a disagreement which ended in Nas
Nas
announcing the birth of his son, Knight, at a gig in Queens, NY, against Kelis's wishes.[130] The birth was also announced by Nas
Nas
via an online video.[131] The couple's divorce was finalized on May 21, 2010.[132] In January 2012 Nas
Nas
was involved in a dispute with a concert promoter in Angola, having accepted $300,000 for a concert in Luanda, Angola's capital for New Year's Eve and then not showing up. American promoter Patrick Allocco and his son, who arranged for Nas's concert, were detained at gunpoint and taken to an Angolan jail by the local promoter who fronted the $300,000 for the concert. Only after the US Embassy intervened were the promoter and his son allowed to leave jail—but were placed under house arrest at their hotel.[133] As of the end of the month Nas
Nas
returned all $300,000 and after 49 days of travel ban Allocco and his son were both released.[134] On March 15, 2012, Nas
Nas
became the first rapper to have a personal verified account on Rap Genius
Rap Genius
where he explains all his own lyrics and commenting on the lyrics of other rappers he admires.[135][136] In September 2009 the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
filed a federal tax lien against Nas
Nas
for over $2.5 million, seeking unpaid taxes dating back to 2006.[137] By early 2011 this figure had ballooned to over $6.4 million.[138] Early in 2012 reports emerged that the IRS had filed papers in Georgia to garnish a portion of Nas's earnings from material published under BMI and ASCAP, until his delinquent tax bill is settled.[139] In May 2013, it was announced that Nas
Nas
would open a sneaker store in Las Vegas called 12 am RUN (pronounced Midnight Run) as part of The LINQ
The LINQ
retail development.[140] In July 2013, he was honored by Harvard University, as the institution established the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, which would serve to fund scholars and artists who show potential and creativity in the arts in connection to hip hop.[141] In an October 2014 episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots, Nas
Nas
learned about five generations of his ancestry. His great-great-great-grandmother, Pocahontas Little, was a slave who was sold for $830. When host Henry Louis Gates
Henry Louis Gates
showed Nas
Nas
her bill of sale and told him more about the man who bought her, Nas
Nas
remarked that he is considering buying the land where he lived. Nas
Nas
is also shown the marriage certificate of his great-great-great-grandmother, Pocahontas and great-great-great-grandfather, Calvin.[142][143] Nas
Nas
is a New York Mets
New York Mets
fan.[144] Awards and nominations Grammy Awards The Grammy Awards are held annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Nas
Nas
has 13 nominations.

Year Nominee/work Award Result

1997 "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated

2000 I Am... Best Rap Album Nominated

2003 "One Mic" Best Music Video Nominated

"The Essence" (with AZ) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or a Group Nominated

2008 "Better Than I've Ever Been" (with Kanye West
Kanye West
& KRS-One) Nominated

Hip Hop Is Dead Best Rap Album Nominated

2009 Nas Nominated

"N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)" Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated

2010 "Too Many Rappers" (with Beastie Boys) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or a Group Nominated

2013 "Daughters" Best Rap Performance Nominated

Best Rap Song Nominated

"Cherry Wine" (featuring Amy Winehouse) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated

Life Is Good Best Rap Album Nominated

MTV
MTV
Video Music Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result

1999 "Hate Me Now" (featuring Puff Daddy) Best Rap Video Nominated

2002 "One Mic" Video of the Year Nominated

Best Rap Video Nominated

2003 "I Can" Nominated

"Thugz Mansion" (with Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur
and J. Phoenix) Nominated

2005 "Bridging the Gap" (featuring Olu Dara) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated

BET
BET
Hip Hop Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result

2006 Nas I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award Won

2012 Lyricist of the Year Award Nominated

"Daughters" Impact Track Won

Sports Emmy Award

Year Nominee/work Award Result

2011 "Survival 1" Outstanding Sports Documentary Won

Discography Main article: Nas
Nas
discography

Studio albums

Illmatic
Illmatic
(1994) It Was Written
It Was Written
(1996) I Am... (1999) Nastradamus
Nastradamus
(1999) Stillmatic
Stillmatic
(2001) God's Son (2002) Street's Disciple
Street's Disciple
(2004) Hip Hop Is Dead
Hip Hop Is Dead
(2006) Untitled (2008) Life Is Good (2012)

Filmography

Film and television

Year Title Role

1998 Belly Sincere

1999 In Too Deep Drug Dealer (uncredited)

2001 Ticker Det. Art "Fuzzy" Rice

2001 Sacred is the Flesh Isa Paige

2010 Hawaii Five-0 Gordon Smith

2013 Black Nativity Prophet Isaiah

2014 Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism Himself

2014 Nas: Time Is Illmatic Himself

2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Himself

2016 The Get Down Narrator

2017 American Epic: The Big Bang Himself

2017 The American Epic Sessions Himself

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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Jesse Jackson
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Nas
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Nas
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DJ Premier
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Nas
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Virginia Tech
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
Jimmy Iovine Icon Award". Hiphopdx. Retrieved October 17, 2016.  ^ "The Long-Lost, Rebuilt Recording Equipment That First Captured the Sound of America". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-02-28.  ^ "Watch Nas, Jack White Reinterpret 1920s Blues Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-02-28.  ^ "'The American Epic Sessions': London Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-02-28.  ^ Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (May 19, 2017). "American Epic". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-02-28.  ^ " Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Kelis
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Nas
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Nas
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For 49 Days Following No Show By Nas
Nas
For Concert Archived September 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. ThisIs50.com (February 18, 2012). Retrieved on December 19, 2012. ^ "Nas's profile". Rap Genius. Retrieved April 11, 2014.  ^ "NAS INTERVIEW: why Nas
Nas
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Nas
Owes the IRS Nearly $6.5 Million".  ^ BET
BET
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
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Nas
Researches His Ancestry And Finds The Man Who Enslaved His Family". VIbe. Vibe. October 28, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2015.  ^ Nasir Jones (April 15, 2014). "Nasir Jones sports tweet". 

Further reading

Bradley, Adam (February 23, 2009). Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop. Basic Civitas Books. ISBN 0-465-00347-8.  Dee, Kool Moe (2003). There's a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MC's. New York, N.Y., U.S.: Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1-56025-533-1.  Edwards, Paul (2009). How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC. Chicago, Ill., U.S.: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-816-7.  Hess, Mickey, ed. (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Westport, Conn., U.S.: Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-33904-X. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Shapiro, Peter (2005). The Rough Guide to Hip-hop (2nd ed.). London, England, UK: Rough Guides. ISBN 1-85828-637-9. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nas.

Nas
Nas
at AllMusic Nas
Nas
at MTV

v t e

Nas

Studio albums

Illmatic It Was Written I Am… Nastradamus Stillmatic God's Son Street's Disciple Hip Hop Is Dead Untitled Life Is Good

Collaborations

Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives
(with Damian Marley)

Compilation albums

The Lost Tapes Greatest Hits

Other albums

The Firm: The Album Nas
Nas
& Ill Will Records
Ill Will Records
Presents QB's Finest From Illmatic
Illmatic
to Stillmatic: The Remixes

Related articles

Discography Breaking Atoms Bravehearts Ill Will Records The Firm Video Anthology Vol. 1 God's Stepson Olu Dara Mass Appeal Records Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic Nas: Time Is Illmatic

v t e

Nas
Nas
singles

Illmatic

"Halftime" "It Ain't Hard to Tell" "Life's a Bitch" "The World Is Yours" "One Love" "N.Y. State of Mind" "One Time 4 Your Mind"

It Was Written

"If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" "Street Dreams" "The Message"

The Firm: The Album

"Firm Biz" "Phone Tap"

I Am...

" Nas
Nas
Is Like" "Hate Me Now"

Nastradamus

"Nastradamus" "You Owe Me"

Stillmatic

"Rule" "Got Ur Self a Gun" "One Mic" "Ether"

God's Son

"Made You Look" "I Can" "Get Down"

Street's Disciple

"Thief's Theme" "Bridging the Gap" "Just a Moment"

Hip Hop Is Dead

"Hip Hop Is Dead" "Can't Forget About You"

Untitled

"Hero" "Make the World Go Round" "N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)"

Life Is Good

"Nasty" "The Don" "Daughters" "Cherry Wine"

Other singles

"Escobar '97" "Oochie Wally" "Less Than an Hour" "Be a Nigger Too" "As We Enter"

Collaborations

"Fast Life" "Head over Heels" "Love Is All We Need" "Grand Finale" "Hot Boyz" "Did You Ever Think" "It's Mine" "I've Got to Have It" "What's Going On" "I'm Gonna Be Alright" "Thugz Mansion" "In Public" "Blindfold Me" "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" "My President" "Too Many Rappers" "Fall in Love" "Ghetto Dreams" "Champion" "Free" "Something to Believe In" "Chains"

Other songs

"Made Nas
Nas
Proud"

v t e

Def Jam
Def Jam
Recordings

Discography

Founders

Russell Simmons Rick Rubin

Subsidiaries

ARTium Records Def Jam
Def Jam
South Def Soul Disturbing tha Peace GOOD Music Radio Killa Records Roc-A-Fella Records

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 88145970173432251414 LCCN: no96060489 ISNI: 0000 0000 7839 7432 GND: 134881974 SUDOC: 159634989 BNF: cb139828939 (data) MusicBrainz: cfbc0924-0035-4d6c

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