The tech industry has a diversity issue. Nas is doing his best to help narrow the diversity gap. He recently teamed up with General Assembly, the New York City private vocational school for programming and engineering, to offer opportunities in tech to young blacks and Latinos. Through his Queensbridge Venture Partners, Nas joins Google, Microsoft, and Hirepurpose as the first contributors to fund the program.
According to Betabeat, each donor is tasked with a specific target demographic. Google will offer scholarships to women, Hirepurpose and Microsoft will sponsor veterans and Nas' QueensBridge Venture Partners will fund African-Americans and Latinos.
"Education, careers and opportunities in technology should not be limited to any one demographic," says Nas. "And I'm happy to support minorities who will see doors open to them as a result of participation in this program."
(Photo © Andrew H. Walker/Getty)
Whether kicking a story backwards or channeling a gun or a prison cell, Nas can make any concept song sound like a movie. Here are Nas' 10 best concept songs.
Nas is a battle-tested rapper. He's traded insults with Biggie, 2Pac and Jay Z, among others. As we mark the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Nas paused to reflect on some of his verbal wars. QB's finest looked back at his relationship with his peers in a recent interview with HuffPo Live.
Here's what Nas had to say about Biggie:
"It was competitiveness. On the second album [It Was Written] I had to kind of like respond a little to certain lines [from Biggie about me] ... just to keep each other on our toes."
Nas is referring to "The Message," which contains subliminal shots at Biggie.
"Big wasn't the guy who was bitter, he pushed you, he challenged you. He made you feel like you had to rise up or get out. He wouldn't sit back around and be talking about you and be mad at you or jealous. If he had an envy in him, it's because he always had to have that top spot, and that is what being the best is all about. I miss him today because he was a class act with that."
"He passed the day before my birthday. I was gonna meet him in Vegas and it rained in Vegas when he passed. It was a trip."
On Jay Z:
"See people forget how amazing and powerful rap music is," he recalls. "If hip hop pushed you into the ring with each other, you either swing or go down."
Nas. Rakim. KRS One. Kanye West. It's an emcee's dream session. Take a trip down memory lane and relive the star-studded "Better Than I've Ever Been/Classic."