Nas

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NAS can also be a shorthand for Network-attached storage.
Nas
A black man with sunglasses and a sleeveless denim jacket, smiling with a microphone in hand
Nas performing in July 2014
Born
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones

(1973-09-14) September 14, 1973 (age 48)
Other names
  • Nas Escobar
  • Nasty Nas
Occupation
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • entrepreneur
  • record executive
  • actor
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)
Kelis
(m. 2003; div. 2010)
Children2
Parent(s)
RelativesYara Shahidi (cousin)
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
Labels
Associated acts
Websitewww.nasirjones.com

Nasir Jones (born September 14, 1973), better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his first album, Illmatic, which was released in 1994. It has been widely critically praised. Nas has been nominated for twelve Grammy Awards.

Personal life[change | change source]

Nas was born on September 14, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Olu Dara, is a musician who plays the trumpet.[1] When Nas was young, his family moved to Queens, New York.

On June 15, 1994, Nas's ex-fiancée Carmen Bryan gave birth to their daughter, Destiny. Nas was married to Kelis from 2005 until they divorced in 2010. She is the mother of his son.

Career[change | change source]

1990s[change | change source]

Nas started making music when he was a teenager. He recorded his first music with a producer called Large Professor, but did not yet publish it.[2] Nas' first published song was "Live at the Barbeque" in 1991. He was a guest artist on this song, which was by the group Main Source. In 1992, Nas released his first single, a song called "Halftime". This song was first published as part of a movie's soundtrack.[3]

Nas released his first album, called Illmatic, in 1994. The album got very good reviews. People especially liked Nas' songwriting skills on the album. Because it was so well liked, Illmatic is often called a classic.[3][4] Today, many people still say that Illmatic is one of the best hip-hop albums ever. Nas released his second album in 1996. He called the album It Was Written. On this album, Nas tried to make songs that a bigger audience would like.[3] He also made expensive music videos to promote the album.

Nas also joined a hip hop group called The Firm. The other members of the group were Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature. The Firm first appeared as a group on It Was Written. In 1997, The Firm released an album together. The Firm's album sold many copies, but sold less than the group had hoped it would. After this album, The Firm stopped making music as a group. Nas instead started making his third album by himself. He planned to call this album I Am... The Autobiography, and wanted it to be a double album. People leaked many of the songs from this album onto the Internet before it came out. Because of this, Nas decided to record new songs for the album.[5] He also changed the title to I Am.... This album came out in 1999. Nas also released another album, called Nastradamus, in 1999. Nastradamus was originally meant to have the leaked songs from I Am..., but Nas changed his mind and decided to record new songs for it.[3] People did not like I Am... or Nastradamus as much as Nas' earlier albums. After they came out, people were worried that Nas was losing his skills as a musician.

2000s[change | change source]

In the late 1990s, Nas began fighting with rapper Jay-Z. In 2001, Jay-Z wrote a song called "Takeover" that insulted Nas. Nas replied by writing a song called "Ether" that insulted Jay-Z in return. "Ether" appeared on Nas' fifth album, Stillmatic, which he released in 2001. Stillmatic was mostly well liked. Its good reception helped to boost Nas' career after his last two albums had received bad reviews. Nas' next album was The Lost Tapes, an album made of songs he had written earlier but never published. The Lost Tapes got good reviews. Some critics said it was his best album since Illmatic.

Nas released several more albums in the 2000s. In 2002, he released God's Son. This album sold many copies, causing it to go platinum. It also included the song "I Can", which became Nas' biggest hit song. After this, Nas' next album was a double album called Street's Disciple. The album got good reviews, but sold fewer copies than his earlier albums.

Nas and Jay-Z ended their fight in 2005. To show that they had made up, Nas made a surprise appearance at a Jay-Z concert in 2005. The two musicians performed Jay-Z's song "Dead Presidents" together.[3] At this time, Jay-Z was the president of the record label Def Jam Recordings. Nas signed a contract with Def Jam in January 2006. On the Def Jam label, Nas released his next album in 2006. This album was called Hip Hop Is Dead. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was Nas' first number-one album since I Am..., and his third ever.[6] In 2007, Nas announced that he wanted to call his next album Nigger. Because the title was a racial slur, many people were unhappy with this announcement. Nas was criticized by famous progressives like Jesse Jackson, and also by the conservative news channel Fox News. Because of the controversy, Nas decided to release the album without any title at all.[7]

2010s[change | change source]

In 2010, Nas released an album with Damian Marley called Distant Relatives. It entered the Billboard 200 at number five. Three singles were released from the album. In 2012 Nas released his eleventh album Life Is Good. He wrote it after he divorced Kelis. The album got good reviews.

In 2014, a documentary called Nas: Time Is Illmatic was released. The movie celebrated the 20th anniversary of Illmatic.[8] Nas also performed songs from Illmatic at the Kennedy Center.[3] In 2017, Nas did more work in film and TV. He wrote a song for the TV show The Getdown and appeared in a documentary called The American Epic Sessions.

Nas' next album was called Nasir. It was released in 2018. Kanye West produced all of Nasir. The album got mixed reviews. In 2019, Nas released The Lost Tapes 2. He had originally planned to release this album soon after The Lost Tapes. However, the album was delayed several times. In 2020, Nas released an album called King's Disease. This album won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Nas had been nominated for many Grammy Awards, but this was the first time he won.[9] Nas then released an album called King's Disease II in 2021.

References[change | change source]

  1. Foster, Saptosa (2004). "Bridging the Gap". The Ave. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  2. "Hip-Hop Gem: Nas' First Recording Session Was With Large Professor". Stop the Breaks. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Birchmeier, Jason. "Nas: Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  4. Reid, Shaheem. "The Year Hip-Hop Was Reborn: A Look Back at 1994". Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  5. Weinstein, S. "Nas." In Hess, M. (ed.), Icons of Hip-Hop, vol. 1, pp. 341–363.
  6. "Nas Scores Third No. 1 Album With 'Hip-Hop Is Dead'". Billboard. 2006-12-27. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  7. Ewing, Aliya (2008-06-10). "Nas Names Album Nothing & Sets Release Date". Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  8. Tsai, Martin (2014-10-01). "Review: 'Nas: Time Is Illmatic' is a reminder of rap's potential". Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  9. Powell, Jon. "Nas wins his first Grammy for 'King's Disease'". Revolt.tv. Retrieved 2021-12-09.

Other websites[change | change source]