Nasir bin Olu “Nas” Dara Jones is an American song rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur. Jones was born on September 14, 1973 to Olu Dara, a jazz and blues musician from Mississippi, and Fannie Ann, a United States Postal Service worker from North Carolina who lived in New York City. He has one sibling named Jungle. Jones grew up in the Queensbridge Housing Project in Queens, New York. His parents divorced when he was 12 years-old and Jones dropped out of school after the eighth grade. After leaving school he began to focus on his music career, playing trumpet and writing his rhymes.
In 1992, 19-year-old Jones was discovered by 3rd Bass member Michael “MC Serch” Berrin who became Jones’s manager and helped him secure a record deal with Columbia Records. In 1994, Jones released his debut studio album Illmatic with hit songs, “Halftime,” “Life’s A Bitch,” and “The World Is Yours.” The album would be certified double platinum, selling over two million units. In 1996, Jones released his second album called It Was Written that feature singles including “If I Ruled the World (Image That),” “Street Dreams,” and “The Massage.” This album sold two million units and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1997. In 1999, Jones released his third album. I Am featuring the singles “Nas Is Like” and “Hate Me Now.” That album also sold two million units and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2000.
Jones released other albums during his career, including Nastradamus (1999), Stillmatic (2001), God’s Son (2002), Street’s Disciple (2004), Hip Hop Is Dead (2006), Untitled (2008), Life Is Good (2012), Nasir (2018), and King’s Disease (2020). In 2021 Nas won his first Grammy Award when King’s Disease was declared Best Rap Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. An actor as well, Jones has appeared in movies such Belly (1998) and Ticker (2001), among others.
Despite Jones’s success, his career has had numerous controversies, including rap feuds with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Cameron “Cam’ron” Giles, Tupac “2Pac” Shakur, Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins, Amala “Doja Cat” Dlamini, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Jones’s rap feud with Jay-Z during the earlier 2000s was one of the most intense in Hip Hop history. The two rappers made numerous songs insulting each other, including Jay-Z ‘s “The Takeover” and Nas’s “Ether.” Despite the controversy, Jones’s career continues in the music business as of 2021.
Nas at one time had a relationship with Carmen Bryan. The couple had a daughter named Destiny in 1994. In 2005, Nas married R&B singer Kelis. The couple had a son, Knight, in 2009 but divorced soon after.