Nasir Jones (born September 14, 1973), known simply as Nas, formerly Nasty Nas, is an American rapper.
Son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas is well known for his 1994 debut album Illmatic, which many consider to be
one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. This album established Nas as one of hip-hop's most
profound lyricists, introducing his signature poetic style. Raised in the notorious Queensbridge housing
projects in New York City, he represents a continuation of a hip-hop tradition in Queensbridge that has
spanned through early hip-hop, including the Juice Crew, Marley Marl, and MC Shan.
Following Illmatic with It Was Written, Nas pursued a more mainstream direction, which resulted in wider
success but decreased artistic credibility among critics and hip-hop purists. Nas' increased commercial
success was accompanied by stylistic changes that fostered accusations of giving in to corporate wishes and
compromising the style that had enamored his fans of him. Nevertheless, the album Stillmatic is often credited
for restoring Nas' credibility among fans. Since the success of Stillmatic, Nas has continued to maintain a high
profile within the hip-hop community, and has pursued a decidedly personal aesthetic.