The living legend and Queensbridge's own lyrical king Nasir "Nas" Jones was born on September 14th, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York before his family relocated to Queens. The mere virtue of his unparalleled skill of masterfully cultivating numerous Hip-Hop classics would lead to him self-proclaiming himself , "Nasir Escobar, Nasty Nas & God's Son". Escobar's first introduction to the Hip-Hop landscape at merely 18 years of age, would prove Nas was way of ahead of his time when he teamed up with the Main Source to deliver his classic verse on the "Live At The Barbeque Freestyle" (1991). Nasir's self-aware and self-empowered fluidly smooth rap style would create a timeless connection with his rap contemporaries & hip-hop enthusiasts respectively.
Hailing from New York as an aspiring MC would indefinitely introduce Nasir to Hip-Hop greats such as Queensbridge great ,"Marley Marl" & the self-proclaimed Long Island representative God MC, "Rakim". Although Nasir dropped out of school at an early age, his impressively complex vocabulary and elocution skills were easily illuminated in tracks such as the hit song "Halftime", originally from the "Zebrahead Motion Picture Soundtrack" (1992). Subsequently, Columbia Records would catch wind of this insane Queens-bred lyricist and would sign him to his first major record label in the same year. All the buzz Nas had generated to this point had raised the interests of legendary producers like DJ Premier, Large Professor & Pete Rock. Along with these producers Nas would head into the studio and work to create his debut classic album "Illmatic" that would be released April 19th, 1994. DJ Premier would be responsible for the songs, N.Y. State of Mind, Memory Lane & Represent on the album. While Pete Rock & Large Professor would be responsible for the singles The World Is Yours, Halftime, One Time For Your Mind & It Ain't Hard To Tell. Initially, the album would not be a commercial success as it only moved about 60,000 units in the first week. However, overtime it would receive the acclaim it deserved by the Hip-Hop community and beyond as it became known as one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums ever created. Nasir's multi-syllabic rhyme schemes paired with his sharp introspective narratives of growing up in Queensbridge over stellar musical production solidified Nasir as one of Hip-Hop's elite artists.
Nasir would follow up his freshman effort with the Trackmaster produced project "It Was Written" which was highly anticipated after his stellar debut album (1996). The album noticeably displayed an effort to crossover with the pop singles, "Street Dreams" and "If I Ruled The World". Although this album would prove to be his most successful commercial release (debuting at #1 on Billboards Top 100 upon release) he would receive some backlash for his attempts to crossover. Nasir's third album "I Am" would be lead with the DJ Premier produced single, "Nas Is Like" (1999). Just six months later, Nas would release his fourth album, "Nastradamus", which ended up being disappointing to his fans and critics alike due to its fully pop-crossover single, "You Owe Me". Nonetheless, the album would go platinum but ultimately was looked over by some of his Hip-Hop contemporaries.
The release of "Nastradamus" was emblematic of a slight downturn of Nasir's career that would unfortunately cause him to slip off the top of the mountain as king of the rap's arena. Dealing with personal issues, such as his mom becoming very ill, he would disappear from music for a couple of years. Longtime rival Jay-Z saw this as the perfect opportunity to throw out a jab at Nas with the diss track "Takeover". Appropriately, Nas would strike back with the ultimate jab in "Ether" off his fifth album "Stillmatic" (2001). Nasir would flex his creative genius on this album with the song "Rewind" in which he spits a vividly sharp story from the ending to the beginning. This album would be received very well by all critics and contemporaries alike and would also sell well respectively. The next year Nas would release his fifth studio album "God's Son" that housed hit the singles: "Made You Look", "I Can" & "Thugz Mansion".
The history of this artist is both well-versed and crucial to Hip Hop History. We encourage you to listen to the tracks below and find out more on the legacy of Nasir Jones.