Beginning with his classic debut, Illmatic (1994), Nas has stood tall as one of New York City’s leading rap voices, outspokenly expressing a righteous, self-empowered swagger that has endeared him to critics and hip-hop purists. Whether proclaiming himself “Nasty Nas” or “Nas Escobar” or “Nastradamus” or “God’s Son,” the self-appointed King of New York has battled numerous adversaries, none more challenging than Jay-Z, who vied with Nas for the throne left in the wake of the Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 assassination. Such headline-worthy drama has informed his provocative rhymes, delivered with a masterful flow and a wise perspective over beats by a range of producers, from DJ Premier and Pete Rock to the Alchemist and Kanye West. Nas has continually matured as an artist, evolving from a young street disciple to a vain all-knowing sage and humbled godly teacher, as illustrated through Hip Hop Is Dead (2006), Nas (2008), and Life Is Good (2012), all of which were Grammy nominated. Since relaunching and expanding the multimedia hip-hop company Mass Appeal, he’s continued to build his deep discography with releases such as Nasir (2018), the Grammy-winning King’s Disease (2020), and King’s Disease II (2021) and III (2022).

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