Today in Hip Hop History: September 14, 1973
Nasir Olu Dara Jones, most commonly known as Nas, was born in Brooklyn, New York to jazz musician Olu Dara. Nas is an American MC, songwriter, producer, actor, entrepreneur and one of the most important figures in hip hop history. He grew up in Queens and began his music career playing the trumpet and writing his own rhymes.
Nas debuted his rap career on Main Source’s song “Live at the Barbeque,” on their critically acclaimed album, Breaking Atoms. Little did everyone know at that time that this relatively obscure feature would begin one of the most successful hip hop careers of all time. His debut album, Illmatic, shocked the world with its gritty street rhymes, incandescent lyricism and quality production. Illmatic remains arguably the greatest hip hop album of all time. Nas recorded the second song on the album, “N.Y. State of Mind,” in one take.
Nas’ followup to Illmatic, It Was Written, became RIAA Certified Platinum within 2 months of its release. The album further expanded his genius on an international level. Nas also joined into a hip hop super-group, The Firm, consisting of himself, Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature, releasing just one album under Dr. Dre’s Aftermath. He also joined another super-group, Group Therapy, consisting of himself, B-Real, KRS-One and RBX.
Another stand-out within Nas’ career was his long feud with fellow New York rapper, Jay-Z. The two exchanged diss tracks at each other, including “Ether” and “Supa Ugly,” attempting to claim the crown of New York rap after the unfortunate passing of The Notorious B.I.G..
Nas’ hip hop career is amongst the elite within the culture and genre. He has released 8 consecutive Platinum and Multi-Platinum albums and sold over 25 million records since 1994. He created his own record label, Mass Appeal Records, which currently hosts a roster of Nas, Run the Jewels, Bishop Nehru, Fashawn and others. He has 5 number 1 albums on the Billboard 200, and several magazines and publications list his among the greatest MCs of all time. From True Too to Nas, Happy Birthday to one of the GOATs!