Nasir Jones was born September 14, 1973 in Queens, New York, via the notoriously harsh Queensbridge Projects. Throughout his welfare-infested life, he became a drug-dealer on the streets to help his family save money and their apartment. In 1988, Nas dropped out of high school to focus on his future and was later kicked out of his mother's house. By 1993, he witness his brother, Jungle and his friend, Ill Will being shot. Ill Will was pronounced dead soon after, while Jungle was under critical condition.
In 1994, he and his ex-fiancee Carmen Bryant welcomed their [thus far] only child together, Destiny Hope Bryant (nee Jones).
That same year, he signed to Columbia Records and released one of the most acclaimed hip-hop albums of all time, "Illmatic". His following album, "It Was Written", released in 1996, became Nas' first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.
In 1999 between quarters, he released "I Am..." (which became the rapper's second #1 album) and "Nastradamus" (which had failed to garner quite the same praise).
During November 2001, he released "Stillmatic" to outbeat Ludacris' "Word of Mouf", Busta Rhymes' "Genesis" and Toni Braxton's "Snowflakes". The album hit #4 on the Billboard 200 and later went Platinum by the RIAA. The next year, months after the death of his mother, he released "God's Son" on the same day as Tyrese's "I Wanna Go There" and Common's "Electric Circus".
In 2004, Nas' seventh album, "Street's Disciple", which was a massive disappointment, peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200; later climbed to #2 behind Eminem's "Encore".
By 2006, the rapper left Columbia and signed with Def Jam Recordings through L.A. Reid and released "Hip Hop is Dead" that same year; the untitled album in 2008 and "Life is Good" in 2012. All three of these albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, making them Nas' third, fourth and fifth consecutive efforts to make the top spot, respectively.
In 2010, despite his divorce from Kelis and the birth of his son, Knight, he and Jamaican reggae singer, Damian Marley, both collaborated to release their album together (as a duo), called "Distant Relatives", released that May (nationwide) and July (internationally) for Universal Republic (now known as Republic Records). The album's attempt to make the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 was overshamed by Toni Braxton's "Pulse", Drake's "Thank Me Later", Reflection Eternal's "Revolutions per Minute" and Eminem's best-selling album of that year, "Recovery".
A lecturer and activist, he has created the Nasir Jones Education Foundation in 2013 to help fund children for better education and future. That same year, he reincarnated Mass Appeal Magazines and Webzines, along with Peter Bittenbender; Nas is the associate publisher of Mass Appeal and the creator of its YouTube short web-series, "Rhythm Roulette".
Along with Adrian Moeller, Patrick Elasik and Noah Rubin, Nas is also the one out of all four co-founders of Mass Appeal Records, a spin-off record label of the publishing business.
Throughout his life and career, he has been involved in several feuds with DJ Quik (amid the East Coast-West Coast rivalry), Tupac Shakur, Suge Knight, Too Short, Cam'ron, 50 Cent, AZ, Foxy Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Nature (4), Cormega, Canibus, Nelly, Talib Kweli, and most notably, Jay-Z.
His body of work is some of the finest and most thoughtful lyricism in hip-hop's catalog. Even now, Nas manages to pull fans from both the crowd and the underground.
- 26 Vocals
- 9 Instruments & Performance
- 28 Writing & Arrangement
- 792 Featuring & Presenting
- 29 Production
- 1 Technical