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Regarded as one of the greatest hip hop artists ever, Nas has been a pioneering force in rap music for over 30 years. From his masterful 1994 debut Illmatic to still releasing acclaimed albums in 2023, his sharp lyricism and storytelling has inspired generations.


Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in the Queensbridge Houses of Long Island City in 1973, Nas carved his own lane in hip hop during the 1990s boom. His vivid street tales and dominating flow on songs like “N.Y. State of Mind” and “The World Is Yours” made him an instant star with a #1 debut album in Illmatic.

He’s continued to evolve his cinematic style over 14 albums full of gritty poetry and realism that cemented his legacy. Record sales now exceed 30 million including 13 platinum and multi-platinum certifications. Few rap résumés compare to his extensive artistic and commercial accomplishments.


As one of rap’s most prolific icons for decades, Nas boasts an acclaimed catalog of music:

  • Illmatic (1994) – Considered one of hip hop’s finest albums ever
  • It Was Written (1996) – Multi-platinum hit and first #1 album
  • I Am… (1999)
  • Nastradamus (1999)
  • Stillmatic (2001) – Highly praised comeback album
  • God’s Son (2002)
  • Street’s Disciple (2004)
  • Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
  • Untitled Nas album (2008)
  • Life Is Good (2012)
  • Nasir (2018)
  • Kings Disease trilogy (2020-2022)

Songs like “If I Ruled the World,” “Hate Me Now,” and “Made You Look” have become hip hop standards. And modern hits like the DJ Khaled collab “Sorry Not Sorry” prove his relevance today.

Musical Style & Influences

Hailing from the birthplace of hip hop and coming up under pioneers like Kool G Rap, Nas quickly mastered and advanced rap’s key components. His fluid flow, razor sharp wordplay, gritty production, and streetwise lyrical narratives have defined his signature sound.

He’s cited the influences of formative NYC rappers, his jazz musician father Olu Dara, reggae styles via Queensbridge’s large Caribbean population, plus golden era MCs Rakim and KRS-One in shaping his artistry.

Collaborations & Features

While best known for his solo works, Nas has collaborated with many top artists in and out of rap:

  • AZ on iconic duets “Life’s a Bitch” and “The Flyest”
  • 2Pac and the Outlawz on “Thugz Mansion”
  • Lauryn Hill on “If I Ruled the World”
  • Puff Daddy on “Hate Me Now” featuring Diddy
  • DJ Khaled on modern hits like “Sorry Not Sorry”
  • Kanye West and others on the2022 album King’s Disease III

Nas also co-founded the hip hop supergroup [The Firm]( with rappers Foxy Brown, AZ and producer Dr. Dre. The group released one album in 1997 before disbanding.

Touring & Performances

As a premier rap attraction for decades, Nas has embarked on numerous international tours and memorable performances.

Major tour runs include:

  • Illmatic 10th Anniversary Tour (2004)
  • Hip Hop Is Dead Tour (2007)
  • Life Is Good Tour (2012)
  • Nas: Time Is Illmatic European Tour (2014)
  • The Greatness of Nasty Nas Tour (2021-22)

He’s rocked stages at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the Voodoo Experience and venues like London’s 02 Arena and NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. Show setlists touch on songs spanning his entire career.

In 2022, Nas achieved a career dream performing sold-out shows with the New York Philharmonic orchestra reimagining Illmatic and other tracks with lush strings and horns.

Personal Life

Now entering his 50s with his legacy secured, Nas splits time between music and business ventures while relishing fatherhood. Details on his personal life:

  • Age 49, born September 14, 1973
  • One-time marriage to singer Kelis (m. 2005-2010)
  • Four children: daughter Destiny, sons Knight, Eugene, and Kasseem Dean
  • Owner of record label Mass Appeal Records
  • Investor in over 40 startups via QueensBridge Venture Partners

An avid reader and chess player, Nas stays active while plotting his next musical chapter. “I’m gonna rap forever,” he told fans after his 2022 album release.

Net Worth

With record sales topping 30 million and decades of touring under his belt, Nas has amassed an immense net worth as one of rap’s wealthiest artists.

His current 2023 net worth is estimated between $70 to $100 million. Ongoing assets and income streams include:

  • Music sales (streaming royalties, catalog rights)
  • Concert tickets and merch
  • Business ventures like Mass Appeal Records
  • Venture capital investments
  • Real estate holdings

Forbes named him rap’s second highest paid artist in 2022 raking in $35 million mostly via music and business deals. And his net worth continues rising.

Popularity & Fame

As an undisputed GOAT in hip hop’s pantheon, Nas remains of one music’s most popular, influential rappers near 50 years old. Illmatic rounds always rank among critics’ favorite albums. And new music like King’s Disease III hit #1 on Billboard as recently as 2022.

Momentous career benchmarks include:

  • Over 30 million records sold worldwide
  • 8 platinum and 5 multiplatinum solo albums
  • 4 #1 albums on the Billboard 200
  • 14 Grammy nominations with 1 win

He today boasts over 4 million Instagram followers and 1.5 million Twitter followers. Apple Music streamed Nas tracks alone over 850 million times in 2022. Nearly 30 years since his debut, Nas’ fame has hardly waned.


With all-time great albums, technical prowess as an MC, and continuous evolution, Nas looms as one of hip hop’s most revered icons and lyricists – the best from NYC rap’s home.

Hits like “If I Ruled the World” and “Made You Look” will thrive forever. And his staying power and late-career creative surge suggests the best may still be to come at nearly 50 years old. Over 30 years since Illmatic, the fire still burns inside Nasty Nas.