Coming out of Queensbridge, Nasty Nas first appeared on wax in 1991 alongside Akinyele and Joe Fatal on the classic posse cut "Live At The Barbeque" (off Main Source's Breakin' Atoms). His debut LP Illmatic (1994) was a flawless example of his advanced street poetry, set to timeless tracks from beatmasters Pete Rock, Premier, and Large Professor. With his distinctive raspy flow, Nas' visual tales of life in QB captivated listeners as few have. Songs like "One Love," "Life's A Bitch," and "Halftime" still find regular rotation in clubs worldwide. On his follow-up, It Was Written, he made the transition from project thug to flossy gangster, finding huge success through Scorcese-influenced mob stories, Trackmasters production, and a duet with Lauryn Hill. He also formed a group with Nature, AZ, and Foxy Brown called the Firm. They rhymed almost exclusively about drug dealing and Mafioso fantasies. In 1999 Nas released two albums, I Am and Nastradamous, to mixed reviews. In late 2001, he responded to various beefs and skeptical critics by releasing the impressive Stillmatic LP. The following year, Nas dropped The Lost Tapes, a collection of rare and unreleased tracks. His sixth album, God's Son, hit the... Read More|
... streets in late 2002, highlighted by the classic street anthem "Made You Look" and the for-the-kids positivity rap "I Can." In 2004, Nas turned 30, married longtime sweetheart Kelis, and released Street's Disciple, an ambitious double album named after the first words he uttered on wax alongside Main Source back in the day. Arguably his most compelling work since Illmatic, it found him addressing his love for his family -- it even included a collabo with his dad on "Bridging the Gap" -- and taking aim at various black celebrities on the controversial track "These Are Our Heroes." Though his style and image have changed over the years, Nas remains one of hip-hop's most respected lyricists and a hero to the next generation of emcees.