Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (/nɑːˈsɪər/; born September 14, 1973), better known as Nas /ˈnɑːz/, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. Since 1994, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and sold over 25 million records worldwide. Aside from rapping and acting, Nas is an entrepreneur through his own record label, retail sneaker store, and magazine publishing. He serves as Associate Publisher of Mass Appeal magazine, as well as an owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Def Jam Recordings and Mass Appeal Records.
His musical career began in 1991 when he was featured on Main Source’s track “Live at the Barbeque”. His debut album Illmatic, released in 1994, received universal acclaim from both critics and the hip hop community. It is frequently ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. He did Illmatic’s “N.Y. State of Mind” in one take.
His follow-up album It Was Written debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, went platinum twice in only two months, and made Nas internationally known.
From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with rapper Jay-Z. In 2006, Nas signed to Def Jam. In 2010, he released a collaboration album with reggae artist Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His eleventh studio album, Life Is Good was released in 2012.
Nas is often named as one of the top hip hop artists. MTV ranked him at number 5 on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time. In 2012, The Source ranked him No. 2 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. In 2013, Nas was ranked fourth on MTV’s “Hottest MCs in the Game” list. In 2014, About.com ranked him No. 1 on ther list of the 50 Greatest MCs of All Time. He has six number 1 albums on the Billboard 200, tying him with Eminem and Kanye West for 2nd all time among rappers.