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About Nas

A genre’s quintessential recording is forged from the eternal quest for artistic perfection: Nas established hip-hop’s apogee with his first album, Illmatic. Born Nasir Jones in New York City in 1973, the son of jazz musician Olu Dara redefined hip-hop in 1994 with his debut, flipping tales of structural poverty into intricate hood scripture and fomenting the boom bap style. His follow-up, 1996’s baroque and brooding It Was Written, reinvigorated mafioso rap and built Nas’ standing as music’s foremost chronicler of crime, a distinction he vividly defended with Stillmatic in 2001. On that album, Nas realized new modes of narrative (in “Rewind”) and spectacle (with the eruptive “One Mic”), distilling his ability to document street life like few others in rap. Evolving from Queensbridge project laureate to sage social documentarian, Nas certified a parabolic legacy throughout the 2000s, charging his allegorical, compound rhymes with public commentary. Energized by his stirring blue-sky alliance with reggae scion Damien Marley, 2010’s Distant Relatives, Nas returned with the cultured Life Is Good in 2012, leading the golden age into the present with midlife verity, a winning composite he continued with the 2020 album King’s Disease. Reflecting on three decades of influence so far, Nas told Apple Music, “I’ve been blessed enough to see a gift in myself, polish it, present it to the world, and light comes to it.”

Brooklyn, NY, United States of America
September 14, 1973
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