Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (born September 14, 1973), better known by his stage name Nas is an American hip hop recording artist, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and has sold over 25 million records worldwide. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Mass Appeal Records.
His musical career began in 1991 as 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’ follow-up It Was Written debuted at number one 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 rapper Jay Z. Nas signed to Def Jam in 2006. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with reggae artist Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa. His eleventh studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Nas is often named as one of the greatest hip hop artists. MTV ranked him at number 5 on their list of “The Greatest MCs of All Time”. In 2012, The Source ranked him number two on their list of the “Top 50 Lyricists of All Time”. In 2013, Nas was ranked fourth 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.