nas bio

Nas Bio

Nasir Jones, aka Nas, is one of hip hop’s most respected lyricists and has had a long and successful career full of trials and tribulations. From his classic debut project Illmatic to his Grammy award-winning 2020 album The King’s Disease, Nas has proven himself to be an artist that can stand the test of time. 

Some of my favorite Nas songs include “New York State of Mind,” “One Love,” and “Get Down.” He’s a rapper who has continued to evolve over the years while staying true to his roots and establishing his own unique style. This Nas bio is a look at some of the highlights of Nas’s career.  


Nas Quick Facts

Birth Date September 14th, 1973
Birth Place New York City, NY
Nick Name Nasty Nas, Nas Escobar
Nationality American
Zodiac Sign Virgo
Siblings Jabari Fret, aka Jungle
Children Destiny Jones, Knight Jones
Partner/Spouse Kelis (ex-wife)
Most Successful Songs / Albums If I Ruled the World, Illmatic
Earnings $20 million to $35 million
Net Worth $70 million
Social Media @nas
Awards 1 Grammy, 2 BET Hip Hop Awards, 6 MTV VMA Nominations
Last Update 5/27/2022

Nas Birthplace

Nas was born on September 14th, 1973, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. When he was still young, his family moved to the Queensbridge Housing Projects in Queens, where he spent most of his childhood. As a kid, his neighborhood had a massive impact on him, and he’s shouted out Queensbridge in many songs.

Nas Parents

Nas is the son of Olu Dara (born Charles Jones III) and Fannie Ann.

Olu is a jazz musician who played the cornet and guitar. He was born in Natchez, Mississippi, and his father was a traveling musician and sang with a group called the Melodiers. He honed his skills as a musician in the Navy and moved to New York City in 1964.

He then changed his name from Charles Jones to Olu Dara, which means “God is Good” in Yoruba. He played in several bands and released his first studio album in 1998, In the World: From Natchez to New York. He also played on his son’s debut album Illmatic.

Nas’s mother, Fannie Ann, worked for the US Postal Service and was originally from North Carolina. She passed away in 2002 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Nas Early Life

Nas was exposed to music at a young age because his father was a talented jazz musician. He also took inspiration from his childhood friend and neighbor Willy Graham, aka Ill Will, who introduced him to hip hop and later became his DJ. His brother, Jungle, is also a rapper and a member of the Bravehearts, an NYC-based hip hop group.

Nas was heavily influenced by his surroundings and began to look for a creative outlet to express himself. He played the trumpet when he was young and began writing his own rhymes. After the eighth grade, he dropped out of school, and music became his sole focus.

When Nas was 16, he met the producer Large Professor, who had produced tracks for Eric B and Rakim. Large Professor let Nas work at the studio where the two recorded. Even though they weren’t there at the time, it gave the young rapper a chance to start recording his own material.

His first appearance on a record came in 1991 when he was featured on the track Live at the Barbecue by the American/Canadian hip hop group Main Source. Large Professor produced the track, and it was featured on their seminal album Breaking Atoms.

That verse attracted the attention of MC Search from the group 3rd Bass, who offered to be Nas’s manager. Later that same year, Nas would sign a deal with Columbia Records and begin working on his landmark album, Illmatic.

nas rapper

Nas Professional Career


When Nas dropped his debut album, Illmatic, in 1994, it was an instant classic. He became one of the leading voices in New York City hip hop.

It had potency and lyricism that seemed like it should have come from a much older artist, even though Nas was only 20 years old when the album dropped. Illmatic is my favorite Nas album, and it has gone on to be considered one of the greatest rap releases of all time.

The album featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, LES, and DJ Premier and featured multiple successful singles, including “The World is Yours,” “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” and “One Love.”

Throughout the following year, Nas continued to keep his name hot by appearing on some of the top albums of the day, including The Infamous by Mobb Deep and Only Built for Cuban Links by Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan. He also met music industry mogul Steve Stoute, who became his new manager after Nas and MC Search parted ways.

It Was Written

Under Stoute’s direction, Nas began work on his second studio album, It Was Written. The project was released in 1996, two years after Illmatic, and saw Nas take a slightly different approach from his debut. While it still featured grimy East Coast cuts like “The Message” and “Affirmative Action,” it also featured tracks like “Sweet Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” which had much more crossover appeal. 

The inclusion of more pop-sounding records worked, and the album was a massive commercial success, debuting at number one on Billboard and earning Nas his first Grammy nomination. However, some hardcore hip hop fans criticized Nas for selling out and going mainstream, an accusation that would haunt his next few album cycles.

It Was Written was also the first official appearance of “The Firm,” a supergroup Nas founded with fellow rappers AZ, Cormega, and Foxy Brown. The group signed a deal with Dr. Dre‘s Aftermath Entertainment, but they fired Cormega in the middle of production. The Firm released its debut project, The Firm: The Album, in 1998 with just Nas, AZ, and Foxy. But it received mixed reviews and failed to live up to sales expectations, leading the group to disband.   

Later that year, Nas co-wrote and starred in the Hype Williams film Belly, alongside DMX, which is considered a classic film in hip hop. 

it was written

I Am… and Nastradamus

Nas returned to music in 1999 with the album I Am… It was a commercial success, having sold 470,000 copies in the first week. It also spawned two hit singles, “Nas is Like” and “Hate Me Now.” The album received lukewarm reviews from critics, with many claiming his later work failed to live up to his seminal debut album.

I Am… had started as a double album, but some of the tracks were leaked ahead of the release. His label planned to release the leaked tracks as a separate album, but Nas decided to pen an all-new project at the last minute. That album was released later the same year as Nastradamus.

The project debuted at number 7 on Billboard and featured two charting singles; however, it is generally considered one of Nas’s weakest efforts. Many feel that the project was rushed and lacking in substance.

unity and pride nas

Stillmatic and Jay-Z Beef

Around that time, Nas became embroiled in a heated battle with Jay-Z over who was the top lyricist in New York. The two rappers had had issues for years after Nas failed to show up for a studio session for Jay’s debut album. The two had traded subtle disses over the years, but in 2001, Jay-Z released his album The Blueprint, which featured an entire Nas diss track called “The Takeover.”

Nas was quick to respond with the song “Ether,” which was instantly hailed as a classic and often regarded as one of the wildest diss tracks of all time. The song was on his 2001 album Stillmatic, which became a critical and commercial success that helped revive Nas’s career after a series of lackluster releases.

Later Career

The following year, Nas came back with the project God’s Son, a stark departure from many of his previous albums. On that project, Nas took inspiration from the death of his mother earlier that year and his ongoing feud with Jay-Z, touching on themes of violence, racism, and religion over dark, soul-inspired production.

It wasn’t as big a commercial success as some of his earlier albums but received widespread critical acclaim and was one of Nas’s most personal albums. God’s Son is my second favorite Nas album after Illmatic and remains a hidden gem in his catalog.

After that, Nas would continue to release a string of well-received albums over the following decade that proved the narrative that he had fallen off to be false. This included albums like Streets Disciple, Hip Hop is Dead, Untitled, Life is Good, and a reggae crossover album with Damien Marley called Distant Relatives.

In 2018, he teamed up with Kanye West for the album Nasir, part of Kanye’s 7-song Wyoming series and his first album in six years. 

Then, In 2020, he released The King’s Disease, which was executive produced by Hit-Boy. The album was a critical success and earned Nas his first Grammy win. Nas and Hit-Boy returned with a sequel the following year, along with a third album called Magic.

the king's desease

Nas Video

Nas Family

Nas has two children, a boy, and a girl. His daughter Destiny Jones was born in 1994. Her mother is Carmen Bryan, an author and singer known for her best-selling memoir Its No Secret From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal. Bryan also had a relationship with Jay-Z that contributed to their feud, which she details in the book. His son Knight Jones was born in 2009. His mother is Kelis, Nas’s ex-wife.

Nas Dating and Relationship History

Nas has had several high-profile relationships with other public figures, including Amy Winehouse, Nicki Minaj, Ashanti, Foxy Brown, and Mary J. Blige.

He was also married to the singer Kelis from 2005 to 2010. The two had a son together in 2009 before divorcing the following year due to irreconcilable differences.

Kelis later accused Nas of being physically and emotionally abusive to her during their relationship. Nas responded to the accusations on social media, denying the abuse and claiming that she was trying to slander him to help her win the ongoing custody battle over their son. 

Nas Controversies and Scandals

Nas has had several public feuds with other rappers over the years, including Jay-Z, Cam’ron, and Young Jeezy however, they all eventually reconciled.

In 2007, Nas got into a back and forth with Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. Nas had held a free concert at Virginia Tech after the deadly school shooting earlier that year. O’Reilly criticized Nas for having songs referencing violent subject matter while also denouncing gun violence and called for his removal from the concert. Nas still performed and called O’Reilly “a chump” on stage. He also responded to the incident in several interviews. 

nas habits

Nas Net Worth and Career Earnings

Nas has a net worth of about $70 million. His wealth mainly comes from record sales and touring, investments, and a lucrative deal with Hennessy. In 2013, Nas became the associate publisher of the media company Mass Appeal after making a six-figure investment. That deal spawned other sub ventures, including his own record label, also called Mass Appeal. 

He also started his own investment firm, Queensbridge Venture Partners, and his portfolio includes companies like Casper Sleep, Coinbase, DropBox, and Robinhood. He reportedly also made $40 million after Amazon acquired the doorbell company RING, in which he was an investor.

In 2013, he also began a partnership with Hennessy as the face of their Wild Rabbit campaign. Nas has worked with the liquor company as a brand ambassador ever since. 

Nas Real Estate & Residence History

In 2021, Nas purchased a $3.5 million mansion in Calabasas, California. The 6,536 square foot home features 4 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms and sits on 10.2 acres of land. Located on the outskirts of Calabasas, the home features stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Back in 2012, Nas went through a highly publicized foreclosure when he defaulted on his home loan in Atlanta. At the time, he was dealing with tax issues and other financial problems. But after his recent Grammy win and other successful ventures, Nas is in a much better financial position.

Nas Famous Quotes

“There was nothing more important to me than having a voice. I wanted to make a big impact on this art form, I wanted to kick everybody out. I wanted to open up a doorway for another generation” – Nas 

Nas Discography & Full Credits

  • 1994 – Illmatic
  • 1996 – It Was Written
  • 1999 – I Am
  • 1999 – Nastradamus
  • 2001 – Stillmatic
  • 2002 – God’s Son
  • 2004 – Streets Disciple
  • 2006 – Hip Hop Is Dead
  • 2008 – Untitled
  • 2012 – Life is Good
  • 2018 – Nasir
  • 2020 – King’s Disease
  • 2021 – King’s Disease II
  • 2021 – Magic

nas brutal gentleman



Question: Where Did the Nas and Jay-Z Beef Start

Answer: Tensions between the two rappers began after Nas failed to show up for a recording session for Jay’s song “Bring it On” from his debut album Reasonable Doubt. Instead of using an original verse on the album, producer Ski Beatz samples Nas’s vocals for the song “Dead Presidents II.”
There was allegedly some tension over the use of the sample. Jay offered to let Nas redo the chorus and appear in the video, but he declined. The two rappers then began trading subliminal disses, and the beef exploded a few years later with the songs “Ether” and “The Takeover”.  

Question: Who Influenced Nas?

Answer: Growing up, Nas says that he was inspired by many popular groups and artists like MC Shan, Public Enemy, Eric B, and Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, and the Geto Boys. When he was a kid, he said he was inspired to go into show business by watching the Jackson 5 or the rock group KISS and wanting to be on stage. He was also heavily inspired by his neighborhood and the people in his life who made music, like his Father Olu Dara, and his neighbor Ill Will.

Question: What is Nas’s Best Record?

Answer: Every fan has a different opinion over which Nas album is his best. But Illmatic is often considered his most iconic and influential album. It was never his most commercially successful project, but it’s the record most often included in the conversation of best rap albums of all time.

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