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Nas at Jiffy Lube Live in 2022
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones

(1973-09-14) September 14, 1973 (age 50)
Other names
  • Classic
  • God's Son
  • Nas Escobar
  • Nasty Nas
  • Scarlett
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active 1991–present
(m. 2005; div. 2010)
Children 2
Relatives Jungle (brother)
Yara Shahidi (cousin)
Sayeed Shahidi (cousin)
Awards Full list
Musical career

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (/nɑːˈsɪər/; born September 14, 1973), better known by his stage name Nas (/nɑːz/), is an American rapper. Rooted in East Coast hip hop, he is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas began his musical career in 1989 under the moniker "Nasty Nas", and recorded demos for fellow East Coast rapper Large Professor. He was later featured on the 1991 song "Live at the Barbeque" by his group, Main Source.

Nas's debut album, Illmatic (1994), received universal acclaim upon release, and is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time; in 2020, the album was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry. His second album, It Was Written (1996) debuted atop the Billboard 200 and sold over a quarter-million units in its first week; the album, along with its single "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" (featuring Lauryn Hill), propelled Nas into mainstream success. Both released in 1999, Nas's third and fourth albums I Am and Nastradamus were criticized as inconsistent and too commercially oriented, with critics and audiences fearing a decline in the quality of his output.

From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track "Ether." The feud, along with Nas's subsequent albums Stillmatic (2001), God's Son (2002), and the double album Street's Disciple (2004), helped restore his critical standing. Nas later made amends with Jay-Z prior to signing with his then-spearheaded label, Def Jam Recordings in 2006; he adopted a more provocative, politicized direction with the albums Hip Hop Is Dead (2006) and his untitled ninth studio album (2008). In 2010, Nas released Distant Relatives, a collaborative album with Damian Marley which donated all royalties to active African charities. His tenth studio album, Life Is Good (2012), was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. After receiving thirteen nominations, his thirteenth studio album, King's Disease (2020) won him his first Grammy for Best Rap Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards; his subsequent five studio albums: King's Disease II, Magic (2021), King's Disease III (2022), Magic 2, and Magic 3 (2023) would receive positive reception and have production entirely helmed by producer Hit-Boy.

In 2012, The Source ranked him second on their list of the "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time". In 2013, Nas was ranked 4th on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list. ranked him first on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time" in 2014, and a year later, Nas was featured on the "10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records. Nas has released seventeen studio albums since 1994, ten of which are certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum in the U.S.

Early life

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on September 14, 1973, to African American parents. His father, Olu Dara (born Charles Jones III), is a jazz and blues musician from Mississippi. His mother, Fannie Ann (née Little; 1941–2002) was a U.S. Postal Service worker from North Carolina. He has a brother, Jabari Fret, who raps under the name Jungle and is a member of hip hop group Bravehearts. His father adopted the name "Olu Dara" from the Yoruba people. "Nasir" is an Arabic name meaning "helper and protector", while "bin" means "son of" in Arabic. He is a cousin of actors Yara Shahidi and Sayeed Shahidi.

As a young child, Nas and his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses in the borough of Queens. His neighbor, Willy "Ill Will" Graham, influenced his interest in hip hop by playing him records. His parents divorced in 1985, and he dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He educated himself about African culture through the Five-Percent Nation (a splinter group of the Nation of Islam) and the Nuwaubian Nation. In his early years, he played the trumpet and began writing his own rhymes.


As a teenager, Nas enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willie "Ill Will" Graham as his DJ. Nas initially went by the nickname "Kid Wave" before adopting his more commonly known alias of "Nasty Nas". In 1989, then-16-year-old Nas met up with producer Large Professor and went to the studio where Rakim and Kool G Rap were recording their albums. When they were not in the recording studio, Nas would go into the booth and record his own material. However, none of it was ever released.

1991–1994: The beginnings and Illmatic

In 1991, Nas performed on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque", also produced by Large Professor. In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records during the same year. Nas made his solo debut under the name of "Nasty Nas" on the single "Halftime" from MC Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead. Called the new Rakim, his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip hop community.

In 1994, Nas's debut album, Illmatic, was released. It featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, LES and DJ Premier, as well as guest appearances from Nas's friend AZ and his father Olu Dara. The album spawned several singles, including "The World Is Yours", "It Ain't Hard to Tell", and "One Love". Shaheem Reid of MTV News called Illmatic "the first classic LP" of 1994. In 1994, Nas also recorded the song "One on One" for the soundtrack to the film Street Fighter.

Illmatic was awarded best album of 1994 by The Source. Steve Huey of AllMusic described Nas's lyrics on Illmatic as "highly literate" and his raps "superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary", adding that Nas is "able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times". ranked Illmatic as the greatest hip hop album of all time, and Prefix magazine praised it as "the best hip hop record ever made".

1994–1998: Transition to mainstream direction and the Firm

In 1995, Nas did guest performances on the albums Doe or Die by AZ, The Infamous by Mobb Deep, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon and 4,5,6 by Kool G Rap. Nas also parted ways with manager MC Serch, enlisted Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second album, It Was Written. The album was chiefly produced by Tone and Poke of the Trackmasters, as Nas consciously worked towards a crossover-oriented sound. Columbia Records had begun to pressure Nas to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of The Notorious B.I.G. and had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained radio-friendly appeal. The album also expanded on Nas's Escobar persona, who lived a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle. On the other hand, references to Scarface protagonist Tony Montana notwithstanding, Illmatic was more about his early life growing up in the projects.

It Was Written was released in mid-1996. Two singles, "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" (featuring Lauryn Hill of The Fugees) and "Street Dreams" (including a remix with R. Kelly), were instant hits. These songs were promoted by big-budget music videos directed by Hype Williams, making Nas a common name among mainstream hip-hop. Reviewing It Was Written, Leo Stanley of Allmusic believed the album's rhymes were not as complex as those of Illmatic, but still thought Nas had "deepened his talents, creating a complex series of rhymes that not only flow, but manage to tell coherent stories as well." It Was Written featured the debut of the Firm, a supergroup consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega.

Signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label, the Firm began working on their debut album. Halfway through the production of the album, Cormega was fired from the group by Steve Stoute, who had unsuccessfully attempted to force Cormega to sign a deal with his management company. Cormega subsequently became one of Nas's most vocal opponents and released a number of underground hip hop singles dissing Nas, Stoute, and Nature, who replaced Cormega as the fourth member of the Firm. Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album was finally released in 1997 to mixed reviews. The album failed to live up to its expected sales despite being certified platinum, and the members of the group disbanded to go their separate ways.

During this period, Nas was one of four rappers (the others being B-Real, KRS-One and RBX) in the hip-hop supergroup Group Therapy, who appeared on the song "East Coast/West Coast Killas" from Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath.

1998–2001: Heightened commercial direction and inconsistent output

Nas in 1998

In late 1998, Nas began working on a double album, to be entitled I Am... The Autobiography; he intended it as the middle ground between Illmatic and It Was Written, with each track detailing a part of his life. In 1998, Nas co-wrote and starred in Hype Williams's feature film Belly. I Am... The Autobiography was completed in early 1999, and a music video was shot for its lead single, "Nas Is Like". It was produced by DJ Premier and contained vocal samples from "It Ain't Hard to Tell". Music critic M.F. DiBella noticed that Nas also covered "politics, the state of hip-hop, Y2K, race, and religion with his own unique perspective" in the album besides autobiographical lyrics. Much of the LP was leaked into MP3 format onto the Internet, and Nas and Stoute quickly recorded enough substitute material to constitute a single-disc release.

The second single on I Am... was "Hate Me Now", featuring Sean "Puffy" Combs, which was used as an example by Nas's critics accusing him of moving towards more commercial themes. The video featured Nas and Combs being crucified in a manner similar to Jesus Christ; after the video was completed, Combs requested his crucifixion scene be edited out of the video. However, the unedited copy of the "Hate Me Now" video made its way to MTV. Within minutes of the broadcast, Combs and his bodyguards allegedly made their way into Steve Stoute's office and assaulted him, at one point apparently hitting Stoute over the head with a champagne bottle. Stoute pressed charges, but he and Combs settled out-of-court that June. Columbia had scheduled to release the infringed material from I Am... under the title Nastradamus during the later half of 1999, but, at the last minute, Nas decided to record an entire new album for the 1999 release of Nastradamus. Nastradamus was therefore rushed to meet a November release date. Though critical reviews were unfavorable, it did result in a minor hit, "You Owe Me". Fans and critics feared that Nas's career was declining, artistically and commercially, as both I Am... and Nastradamus were criticized as inconsistent and overtly-commercialized.

In 2000, Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB's Finest, which is popularly known as simply QB's Finest, was released on Nas's Ill Will Records. QB's Finest is a compilation album that featured Nas and a number of other rappers from Queensbridge projects, including Mobb Deep, Nature, Capone, the Bravehearts, Tragedy Khadafi, Millennium Thug and Cormega, who had briefly reconciled with Nas. The album also featured guest appearances from Queensbridge hip-hop legends Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan, and Marley Marl. Shan and Marley Marl both appeared on the lead single "Da Bridge 2001", which was based on Shan & Marl's 1986 recording "The Bridge".

2006–2008: Hip Hop Is Dead, Untitled, and politicized efforts

Nas in Ottawa, 2007
Nas performing in Ottawa, 2007

The reconciliation between Nas and Jay-Z created the opportunity for Nas to sign a deal with Def Jam Recordings, of which Jay-Z was president at the time. Jay-Z signed Nas on January 23, 2006; the signing included an agreement that Nas was to be paid about $3,000,000, including a recording budget, for each of his first two albums with Def Jam.

Tentatively called Hip Hop Is Dead...The N, Hip Hop Is Dead was a commentary on the state of hip-hop and featured "Black Republican", a hyped collaboration with Jay-Z. The album debuted on Def Jam and Nas new imprint at that label, The Jones Experience, at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 355,000 copies—Nas's third number one album, along with It Was Written and I Am.... It also inspired reactions about the state of hip-hop, particularly controversy with Southern hip hop artists who felt the album's title was a criticism aimed at them. Nas's 2004 song, "Thief's Theme", was featured in the 2006 film, The Departed. Nas's former label, Columbia Records, released the compilation Greatest Hits in November.

..... Both progressive commentators, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and the conservative-aligned news channel Fox News were outraged; Jackson called on entertainers to stop using the epithet after comedian Michael Richards used it onstage in late 2006. Controversy escalated as the album's impending release date drew nearer, going as far as to spark rumors that Def Jam was planning to drop Nas unless he changed the title. Additionally, then-Fort Greene, Brooklyn assemblyman (later United States Representative) Hakeem Jeffries requested that New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli withdraw $84,000,000 from the state pension fund that had been invested into Universal and its parent company, Vivendi, if the album's title was not changed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, many of the most famous names in the entertainment industry supported Nas for using the racial epithet as the title of his full-length LP. Nas's management worried the album would not be sold by chain stores such as Wal-Mart, thus limiting its distribution.

On May 19, 2008, Nas decided to forgo an album title. ..... We heard your voice, we saw your marching, we heard your sermons. ..... It's a new day. It's a new voice. I'm here now. We don't need Jesse; I'm here. I got this. We the voice now. It's no more Jesse. Sorry. Goodbye. You ain't helping nobody in the 'hood and that's the bottom line." He also said of the album's title: "It's important to me that this album gets to the fans. It's been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it."

The album was ultimately released on July 15, 2008, untitled. It featured production from Polow da Don, of Dead Prez, Sons of Light and J. Myers, "Hero", the album's lead single released on June 23, 2008, reached No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 87 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. In July, Nas attained a shoe deal with Fila. In an interview with MTV News in July, Nas speculated that he might release two albums: one produced by DJ Premier and another by Dr. Dre—simultaneously the same day. Nas worked on Dr. Dre's studio album Detox. Nas was also awarded 'Emcee of the Year' in the HipHopDX 2008 Awards for his latest solo effort, the quality of his appearances on other albums and was described as having "become an artist who thrives off of reinvention and going against the system."

2009–2012: Distant Relatives and Life Is Good

Nas and Damian Marley performing in Wellington Photo By Brady Dyer
Nas and Damian Marley performing in Wellington, 2011

At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Nas confirmed he was collaborating on an album with reggae singer Damian Marley which was expected to be released in late 2009. Nas said of the collaboration in an interview "I was a big fan of his father and of course all the children, all the offspring, and Damian, I kind of looked at Damian as a rap guy. ..... I always liked how reggae and hip-hop have always been intertwined and always kind of pushed each other, I always liked the connection. I'd worked with people before from the reggae world but when I worked with Damian, the whole workout was perfect". A portion of the profit was planned to go towards building a school in Africa. He went on to say that it was "too early to tell the title or anything like that". The Los Angeles Times reported that the album would be titled Distant Relatives. Nas also revealed that he would begin working on his tenth studio album following the release of Distant Relatives. During late 2009, Nas used his live band Mulatto with music director Dustin Moore for concerts in Europe and Australia.

After announcing a possible release in 2010, a follow-up compilation to The Lost Tapes (2002) was delayed indefinitely due to issues between him and Def Jam. His eleventh studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was produced primarily by Salaam Remi and No I.D, and released on July 13, 2012. Nas called the album a "magic moment" in his rap career.

In 2011, Nas announced that he would release collaboration albums with Mobb Deep, Common, and a third with DJ Premier. Common said of the project in a 2011 interview, "At some point, we will do that. We'd talked about it and we had a good idea to call it Nas.Com. That was actually going to be a mixtape at one point. But we decided that we should make it an album." Life is Good would be nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

2013–2019: Nasir and The Lost Tapes 2

In January 2013, Nas announced he had begun working on his twelfth studio album, which would be his final album for Def Jam. The album was supposed to be released during 2015. In October 2013, DJ Premier said that his collaboration album with Nas, would be released following his twelfth studio album. In October 2013, Nas confirmed that a rumored song "Sinatra in the Sands" featuring Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland would be featured on the album.

On April 16, 2014, on the twentieth anniversary of Illmatic, the documentary Nas: Time Is Illmatic was premiered which recounted circumstances leading up to Nas's debut album. It was reported on September 10, that Nas has finished his last album with Def Jam. On October 30, Nas released a song which might have been the first single on his new album, titled "The Season", produced by J Dilla. Nas has also collaborated with the Australian hip-hop group, Bliss n Eso, in 2014. They released the track "I Am Somebody" in May 2014. Nas was featured on the song "We Are" from Justin Bieber's fourth studio album, Purpose, released in November 2015.

NAS performing at the 2015 Sugar Mountain festival, Melbourne, Australia
Nas performing at the 2015 Sugar Mountain festival in Melbourne

Nas was announced as one of the executive producers of the Netflix original series, The Get Down, prior to its release in August 2016. He narrated the series and rapped as adult Ezekiel of 1996.

On October 16, 2016, he received the Jimmy Iovine Icon Award at 2016 REVOLT Music Conference for having a lasting impact and unique influence on music, numerous years in the rap business, his partnership with Hennessy, and Mass Appeal imprint by Puff Daddy. In November 2016, Nas collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dave East and Aloe Blacc on a song called "Wrote My Way Out", which appears on The Hamilton Mixtape. On April 12, 2017, Nas released the song Angel Dust as soundtrack for TV series The Getdown. It contains a sample of the Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson song Angel Dust.

In June 2017, Nas appeared in the award-winning 2017 documentary The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon, where he recorded live direct-to-disc on the restored first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s. He performed "On the Road Again", a 1928 song by the Memphis Jug Band, which received universal acclaim with The Hollywood Reporter describing his performance as "fantastic" and the Financial Times praising his "superb cover of the Memphis Jug Band's "On the Road Again", exposing the hip-hop blueprint within the 1928 stomper." "On the Road Again", and a performance of "One Mic", were released on Music from The American Epic Sessions: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on June 9, 2017.

In April 2018, Kanye West announced on Twitter that Nas's twelfth studio album will be released on June 15, also serving as executive producer for the album. The album was announced the day before release, titled Nasir.

Following the release of Nasir, Nas confirmed he would return to completing a previous album, including production from Swizz Beatz and RZA. This project was released as The Lost Tapes 2 on July 19, 2019, which included production from Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, The Alchemist, and RZA. This album was a sequel to Nas's 2002 release, The Lost Tapes.

2020–present: King's Disease series and Magic series

In August 2020, Nas announced that he would be releasing his 13th album. On August 13, he revealed the album's title, King's Disease. The album, executive-produced by Hit-Boy, was preceded by the lead single, "Ultra Black", a song detailing perseverance and pride "despite the system". The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, becoming Nas' first Grammy. The sequel album, King's Disease II, was released on August 6, 2021, and included the song "Nobody" featuring Lauryn Hill. King's Disease II debuted at number-three on the US Billboard 200, becoming Nas's highest-charting album since 2012. On December 24, Nas released the album Magic. It is his third album executive produced by Hit-Boy, and includes guest appearances from ASAP Rocky and DJ Premier.

Nas's third installment in the King's Disease series, King's Disease III, was released the following year. Like its two predecessors, King's Disease III was mainly produced by Hit-Boy; however, it was notably Nas's first studio album to forgo any guest appearances from outside artists. Upon release, King's Disease III would become one of the most critically acclaimed albums of Nas's career, becoming his highest-scoring new studio album on review aggregator Metacritic and receiving critical praise for the cohesion of Hit-Boy's production with Nas's storytelling and lyricism. Praising King's Disease III, British music publication NME stated that Nas, "three decades in, [is] still a force to be reckoned with", while Marcus Shorter of Consequence would write that the album was Nas's and Hit-Boy's "most focused and confident collaboration" and that Nas was "at peace with his legacy, life, and the fact that old age is inevitable".

On September 12, 2023, Nas announced the 3rd installment to the Magic album series, Magic 3, which would be released two days later, on his fiftieth birthday. The album would be the sixth and final collaboration between Nas and Hit-Boy on an album.


In his book Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2009), writer Adam Bradley states, "Nas is perhaps contemporary rap's greatest innovator in storytelling. His catalog includes songs narrated before birth ('Fetus') and after death ('Amongst Kings'), biographies ('UBR [Unauthorized Biography of Rakim]') and autobiographies ('Doo Rags'), allegorical tales and epistolary ones ('One Love'), he's rapped in the voice of a woman ('Sekou Story') and even of a gun ('I Gave You Power')." ranked him 1st on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time" in 2014, and a year later, Nas was featured on the "10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard. 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. His debut, Illmatic, is widely considered among the greatest hip hop albums of all time.

Business ventures

On April 10, 2013, Nas invested an undisclosed six-figure sum into Mass Appeal magazine, where he went on to serve as the publication's associate publisher, joined by creative firm Decon and White Owl Capital Partners. In June 2013, he opened his own sneaker store.

In September 2013, he invested in a technology startup company, a job search appmaker called Proven. In 2014, Nas invested as part of a $2.8M round in viral video startup ViralGains another addition to Queens-bridge venture partners portfolio.

Nas has a partnership with Hennessy and has been working with their "Wild Rabbit" campaign.

In May 2014, Nas partnered with job placement startup Koru to fund a scholarship for 10 college graduates to go through Koru's training program. Nas will also be joining the startup as a guest coach. Nas is a co-owner of a Cloud-based service LANDR, an automated, drag-and-drop digital audio postproduction tool which automates "mastering", the final stage in audio production. In June 2015, Nas joined forces with New York City soul food restaurant Sweet Chick. He plans to expand the restaurant brand nationally. The Los Angeles location opened in April 2017. He owns his own clothing line called HSTRY.

In June 2018, Nas was paid $40 million after Amazon acquired the doorbell company Ring Inc. as well as PillPack – the latter of which he invested in via his investment firm, Queensbridge Venture Partners.

He has continued to invest heavily in technology startups including Dropbox, Lyft, and Robinhood.

Personal life

Nas is a spokesperson and mentor for P'Tones Records, a non-profit after-school music program with the mission "to create constructive opportunities for urban youth through no-cost music programs."

On March 15, 2012, Nas became the first rapper to have a personal verified account on Genius, where he explains his own lyrics and occasionally comments on lyrics from other rappers he admires.

In May 2013, it was announced that Nas would open a sneaker store in Las Vegas called 12 am RUN (pronounced Midnight Run) as part of The LINQ retail development.

In July 2013, Harvard University established the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, to fund scholars and artists who show potential and creativity in the arts in connection to hip hop.

On November 12, 2019, Nas was honored by Haute Living, along with Watches of Switzerland and Hennessy, in a celebratory affair that included a violin rendition of iconic Nas songs performed by Edward W. Hardy.

Nas is a fan of his hometown baseball team the New York Mets and English soccer team Everton FC.

Relationships and family

In the spring of 2002, Nas lost his mother to cancer. She died in his arms.

On June 15, 1994, Nas's ex-fiancée, Carmen Bryant, gave birth to their daughter, Destiny.

In January 2005, Nas married R&B singer Kelis in Atlanta after a two-year relationship. On April 30, 2009, a spokesperson confirmed that Kelis filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Kelis gave birth to Nas's first son on July 21, 2009, although the event was soured by a disagreement which ended in Nas announcing the birth of his son, Knight, at a gig in Queens, New York, against Kelis's wishes. The birth was also announced by Nas via an online video. The couple's divorce was finalized on May 21, 2010. Their divorce was visually reflected in Nas' song, "Bye Baby", and in the music video with him holding his ex-wife's green wedding dress in a black leather chair, which would also be the backdrop of the album cover for Life Is Good (2012). In 2018, Kelis accused Nas of being physically and mentally abusive during their marriage. Nas replied to the accusations on social media, accusing Kelis of attempting to slander him in the time of a custody battle and accusing Kelis of abusing his daughter, Destiny.

Nas also briefly dated Mary J. Blige and Nicki Minaj respectively.

In an October 2014 episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots, Nas learned about five generations of his ancestry. His great-great-great-grandmother, Pocahontas Little, was an enslaved woman who was sold for $830. When host Henry Louis Gates showed Nas her bill of sale and told him more about the man who bought her, Nas remarked that he is considering buying the land where the slave owner lived. Nas was also shown the marriage certificate of his great-great-great-grandmother, Pocahontas, and great-great-great-grandfather, Calvin.

Legal situations

In September 2009 the U.S. Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien against Nas for over $2.5 million, seeking unpaid taxes dating back to 2006. By early 2011 this figure had ballooned to over $6.4 million. Early in 2012 reports emerged that the IRS had filed papers in Georgia to garnish a portion of Nas's earnings from material published under BMI and ASCAP, until his delinquent tax bill is settled.

In January 2012, Nas was involved in a dispute with a concert promoter in Angola, having accepted $300,000 for a concert in Luanda, Angola's capital for New Year's Eve and then not showing up. American promoter Patrick Allocco and his son, who arranged for Nas's concert, were detained at gunpoint and taken to an Angolan jail by the local promoter who fronted the $300,000 for the concert. Only after the U.S. Embassy intervened were the promoter and his son allowed to leave jail—but were placed under house arrest at their hotel. By the end of the month Nas had returned all $300,000, and, after 49 days of travel ban, Allocco and his son were both released.


Studio albums
  • Illmatic (1994)
  • It Was Written (1996)
  • I Am... (1999)
  • Nastradamus (1999)
  • Stillmatic (2001)
  • God's Son (2002)
  • Street's Disciple (2004)
  • Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
  • Untitled (2008)
  • Life Is Good (2012)
  • Nasir (2018)
  • King's Disease (2020)
  • King's Disease II (2021)
  • Magic (2021)
  • King's Disease III (2022)
  • Magic 2 (2023)
  • Magic 3 (2023)
Collaboration albums
  • The Album (with The Firm) (1997)
  • Distant Relatives (with Damian Marley) (2010)


Film and television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Belly Sincere Film
1999 In Too Deep ... Film; uncredited
2001 Ticker Det. Art "Fuzzy" Rice Film
Sacred is the Flesh Isa Paige Film
2010 Hawaii Five-0 Gordon Smith Episode: "Heihei"
2013 Black Nativity Prophet Isaiah Film
2014 Hidden Colors 3: The Rules of Racism Himself Documentary film
Nas: Time Is Illmatic
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Mockumentary film
The Get Down Narrator 11 episodes
2017 American Epic: The Big Bang Himself Documentary film
The American Epic Sessions
2018 Monster Raymond "Sunset" Green Film
2019 Gully Boy Executive producer Film
2019 Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men Himself Documentary Series
2020 The Last Dance Himself Documentary film
SMOKE: ... + Black America Narrator, Executive producer Documentary film
2021 Mary J. Blige's My Life Himself Documentary film
2021 You're Watching Video Music Box Director, Narrator, Executive Producer Documentary film
2022 Supreme Team Director with Peter J Scalletar, Executive Producer Documentary series

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are held annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Nas has won one Grammy out of 17 nominations altogether.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1997 "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated
2000 I Am... Best Rap Album Nominated
2003 "One Mic" Best Music Video Nominated
"The Essence" (with AZ) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or a Group Nominated
2008 "Better Than I've Ever Been" (with Kanye West & KRS-One) Nominated
Hip Hop Is Dead Best Rap Album Nominated
2009 Nas Nominated
"N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and the Master)" Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated
2010 "Too Many Rappers" (with Beastie Boys) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or a Group Nominated
2013 "Daughters" Best Rap Performance Nominated
Best Rap Song Nominated
"Cherry Wine" (featuring Amy Winehouse) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated
Life Is Good Best Rap Album Nominated
2021 King's Disease Won
2022 King's Disease II Nominated
"Bath Salts" (with DMX & Jay-Z) Best Rap Song Nominated
2024 King's Disease III Best Rap Album Pending

News and Documentary Emmy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2023 Supreme Team Outstanding Crime and Justice Documentary Nominated

Sports Emmy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2011 Survival 1 Outstanding Long Feature Won

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 "Hate Me Now" (featuring Puff Daddy) Best Rap Video Nominated
2002 "One Mic" Video of the Year Nominated
Best Rap Video Nominated
2003 "I Can" Nominated
"Thugz Mansion" (with Tupac Shakur and J. Phoenix) Nominated
2005 "Bridging the Gap" (featuring Olu Dara) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated

BET Hip Hop Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2006 Nas I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award Won
2007 "Hip Hop Is Dead" Hip Hop Album of the Year Nominated
2008 "Untitled" Hip Hop Album of the Year Nominated
Nas Lyricist of the Year Award Nominated
2012 Nas Lyricist of the Year Award Nominated
"Daughters" Impact Track Won
2013 "Life is Good" Hip Hop Album of the Year Nominated
2021 Nas Lyricist of the Year Award Nominated
2022 "King's Disease II" Hip Hop Album of the Year Nominated
"Nobody" featuring Lauryn Hill Impact Track Nominated

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Nas (rapero) para niños

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Nas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.