Nas (Nasir Jones) first reached an international audience when his track “Halftime” was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992’s Zebrahead movie soundtrack. Signed to Columbia Records, the first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, Illmatic. The RIAA platinum hip-hop landmark featured “It Ain’t Hard To Tell,” “The World Is Yours,” and “One.” 1996 brought the breakthrough double-platinum It Was Written (#1 R&B for 7 weeks, #1 pop for 4 weeks), with his first major crossover singles “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).” Success continued with the double-platinum I Am in 1999 (again #1 pop and #1 R&B), with the chart singles “Nas Is Like,” “Hate Me Now” (featuring Puff Daddy), and “You Won’t See Me Tonight” (featuring Aaliyah).
Subsequent albums by Nas included: the RIAA platinum Nastradamus (1999, #2 R&B, #7 pop, with “Nastradamus” and “You Owe Me,” featuring Ginuwine); the platinum Stillmatic (2001, #1 R&B, #5 pop, with “Got Ur Self A…,” “ “One Mic,” and “Rule”); the platinum God’s Son (2002, #1 R&B, with huge R&B/pop crossover hits “Made You Look” and “I Can”); and the platinum double-CD Street’s Disciple (2004, #2 R&B, #5 pop, with “Bridging the Gap” and “Just a Moment”). And his 2012 album, Life Is Good earned him 4 Grammy nominations including Rap Album of the Year and is certified RIAA gold.
Over the years, Nas has also been the featured guest on a number of crossover hits by other artists, among them: Allure (“Head Over Heels,” 1997); Missy Elliott (the #1 “Hot Boyz,” 1999); fellow Queensbridge rapper Mobb Deep (“It’s Mine,” 1999); Jagged Edge (“I Got It 2,” 2002); J-Lo (“I’m Gonna Be Alright,” 2002); Kanye West (“Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been),” 2006); DJ Khaled (“Nas Album Done,” 2016); Swizz Beats (“Echo,” 2018); Jhene Aiko (“10K Hours,” 2020) and others.
In August 2020, Nas released King’s Disease. King’s Disease marked Nas’ first new album in 2 years. The album was entirely produced by Hit-Boy, and Gabriel “G Code” Zardes serves as the albums co-executive producer. The album won “Best Rap Album” at the 2021 GRAMMYs, marking Nas’ first ever GRAMMY win.
In August of 2021, Nas released King’s Disease II, a sequel to the GRAMMY Award winning album. King’s Disease II was executive produced by Nas and Hit-Boy and features collaborations with Eminem, EPMD, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, YG, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Hit-Boy & more. The album earned a nomination for “Best Rap Album” at the upcoming 64th GRAMMY Awards. Most recently, Nas released a surprise album titled Magic featuring A$AP Rocky and DJ Premier.
In addition to his successful career in music, Nas has pursued a career in motion pictures that began with his co-starring role (alongside DMX) in 1998’s cult classic crime drama Belly, a film by director Hype Williams (with whom Nas has done several music videos). Most recently, he was the executive producer of the 2016 Netflix series The Get Down.
Nas is also the co-founder of Mass Appeal Records.