Nasir Jones took himself from the Queensbridge projects to become a worldwide star by creating some of the most influential Hip Hop records of all time.
The son of a Jazz musician, Nas was born with a musical thirst, one that was channeled into hip hop under the influence of neighbor and friend ‘Ill Will’. Even after dropping out of high school, Nas continued to educate himself, utilizing his intellectual life view in his rhymes as he began to garner attention from the likes of producer Large Professor. At just 18, Nas recorded a stand-out verse on Main Source’s ‘Live at The Barbeque’ propelling him to new heights and even securing him a record deal from Columbia under the management of 3rd Bass’ ‘MC Serch’.
With the hype building, Nas was hailed as the best MC since ‘Rakim’ and delivered a certified classic album with his debut, Illmatic. Nas’ complex and insightful rhymes met with world class production and made for a hip hop album unlike anything before it. The album received five mics from ‘The Source’ and is now considered one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.
The album however, did not translate into commercial success and with mounting pressure from his label, Nas began to slide towards a more mainstream sound for the next run of albums which included ‘I Am…’ and ‘Nastradamus’.
It took a now legendary beef with fellow New York rapper Jay Z to set him back on the right track. Nas countered Jay’s ‘The Takeover’ with the lethal diss song ‘Ether’ which fuelled the release of the ‘Stillmatic’ album and re-secured Nas’ place as one of Hip Hop’s premier talents. He has maintained this success through follow up albums and huge festival appearances and in 2014 a documentary was released documenting the importance of ‘Illmatic’ and Nas on Hip Hop’s history.