Known To His Parents As:
Nasir Bin Olu Dara
September 14, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York. His family later moved to the Queensbridge projects.
Interesting Facts About Nas:
As a kid, Nas wanted to be an instrumentalist. He often played his dad's (jazz/blues musician Olu Dara) trumpet. Nas was also into comics. But, he immersed himself into the hip-hop culture shortly after his parents Olu Dara and Ann Jones separated. That was when young Nasir Jones began to write short stories and poetry.
Illmatic: The Critically Acclaimed Hip-Hop Blueprint:
Nas made his hip-hop debut on "Halftime," which was featured on MC Serch's soundtrack to "Zebrahead." In mid 1992, MC Serch helped secure Nas a deal with Columbia Records. The initial concern was that Columbia, a major label, would dilute Nas' raw rap style. In 1994, Illmatic was released. The album, which featured production by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip, and a relatively unknown emcee named AZ, was lauded as a masterpiece.
Nas Vs Jay-Z:
Following the competitive nature of east coast rap, one of Brooklyn's most prolific rhymeslingers, Jay-Z, found himself in a war-on-wax with Nas -- Queensbridge #1 draft. Although, many later claimed that Nas won the battle with "Ether," his esoteric, yet wittily ferocious response to Jay-Z's "Takeover," both rappers claimed victory in their most recent BET interview.
50 Cent Vs Nas:
Long before Nas even reconciled with Jay-Z, fellow Queens, NY native 50 Cent had blatantly called him out on the multi-faceted diss song "Piggy Bank." Many critics observed that "Piggy Bank" was a marketing ploy on 50's part, but Nas pulled no punches. He fired right back with the subliminal street favorite "MC Burial (Don't Body Ya'self)," promising to finish off the counter-attack with an Ether-esque punch later on.
Def Jam - A New World for Nasir Jones:
Nas has tied the knot with R&B diva Kelis, and now devotes more time to his daughter, Destiny, while maintaining a relatively low profile. Perhaps the most notable sign of change and maturity was his new alliance with former nemesis Jay-Z. Nas is currently signed to Jay-Z's Def Jam Records, where he dropped the fiercely titled Hip-Hop Is Dead on December 19, 2006.
In 2008, Nas released his 2nd Def Jam album, Untitled.
Nas In His Own Words:
"How am I window shopping? I showed him his first Bentley, his first real diamond ring because you know he couldn't afford no real stuff back then. I was showing him the way to go. The G-Unit spinning chain is a replica of the QB chain. I was showing him that. If anybody is window shopping, it ain't me." (Responding to 50 Cent's "Window Shopper" in an MTV interview.)