Sept.14th – Nas was born Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones in Queens , New York , on this day in 1973.
Nas , the son of jazz musician Olu Dara , first used the stage name Kid Wave as a teen.
Nas was first introduced to the rap industry when he appeared on Main Source’s “Live At The Barbeque” in 1991 as Nasty Nas.
Nas would then be managed by MC Serch of 3rd Bass , who then in turn put Nas on the soundtrack to the 1992 Triumph Releasing Corporation film “Zebrahead” , of which Serch was executive producer of. The result was Nas’ 1st solo single “Halftime” , produced by Large Professor.
Nas’ complex wordy rhyme style immediately had heads referring to him as the new Rakim.
Nas , however would enter hip-hop’s history books with the release of his classic debut album “Illmatic” on Columbia Records in 1994. “Illmatic” featured production by Pete Rock , Q-Tip , L.E.S. , DJ Premier and once again Large Professor. “Illmatic” contained the classic singles “The World Is Yours” , “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” , “One Love” , “Life’s a B.” and the album cut “New York State Of Mind”. The album was hailed as an instant classic as well as being an important collection of music that contributed to the New York hip-hop renaissance of the mid-90’s.
Critics and fans alike until this day consider “Illmatic” one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever.
By 1995 , Nas was considered one of the greatest rappers in the industry with guest appearances on now classic albums by Raekwon , Mobb Deep and Kool G. Rap.
In 1996 , Nas switched managers , hiring Steve Stoute to guide his career. Nas released his chart-topping sophomore set “It was Written”. The album was mostly produced by the then red-hot production team of The Trackmasters and featured the smash-hit “If I Ruled The World”(Imagine That)(Featuring Lauryn Hill).
In 1997 , Nas put together the super-group The Firm with AZ , Foxy Brown and Cormega , who was later replaced by Nature. The Firm released their only album entitled “The Album” on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label.
Nas has released 7 solo albums since then ; 1999’s “I Am…” , which featured the hits “Nas Is Like” and “Hate Me Now” , 2001’s “Stillmatic” which contained the tracks “Got Ur Self A…” , “One Mic” and the Jay-Z battle track “Ether” , 2002’s “God’s Son” , which featured the unforgettable “Made You Look” , 2006’s “Hip-Hop Is Dead” , with its controversial title track and 2008’s no.1 album “Untitled”.
Nas also released the collaboration album “Distant Relatives” with Bob Marley’s son Damian Marley in 2010.
Nas as well produced the 2000 compilation “QB’s Finest”, which featured artists from the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens , New York where Nas was raised , like Marley Marl , M.C. Shan , Roxanne Shante , Mobb Deep and Cormega with whom Nas had reconciled with , just to name a few.
Nas has also appeared in the films “John Q.” , “Ticker” , “Uptown Girls” and had a starring role in the 1998 Hype Williams directed cult film “Belly”. Nas is regarded as one of the most gifted lyricist ever.