Nas, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur.
The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label, Mass Appeal Records, serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine, and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store.
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 at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in two months, 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 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.
MTV ranked him at #5 on their list of “The Greatest MCs of All Time”. In 2012, The Source ranked him #2 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.
Having invested in dozens of startups, it’s not just his work as a musician that makes him notable but his investment in text annotation service Genius and DeviantArt that strikes the media chord. He is a founding partner of QueensBridge Venture Partners.1