Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (born September 14, 1973), better known by his stage name Nas (/nɑːz/), is an American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, and investor. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released twelve studio albums since 1994, with seven of them certified platinum and multi-platinum in the US.
His musical career began in 1991, as a featured artist on Main Source’s “Live at the Barbeque”. His debut album Illmatic (1994) received universal acclaim from both critics and the hip hop community and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Nas’s follow-up It Was Written debuted atop the Billboard 200, and stayed there for four consecutive weeks, and made Nas internationally known. From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track “Ether”. Nas signed to Def Jam Recordings in 2006. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
In 2006, MTV ranked Nas fifth on their list of “The Greatest MCs of All Time”. 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. About.com 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.