Friday, February 20, 2009


"I'm out for Dead President's to represent Me"

Nasir Jones was born on September 14th, 1973. He is better known by his stage name Nas, formerly Nasty Nas. He is a New York rapper, son of jazz musician Olu Dara. He was born and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. Although he dropped out of middle school, he attained a high degree of literacy that he would later use in his lyrics. His debut album Illmatic, was released in 1994 on Columbia Records. Illmatic was a critically acclaimed bestseller and would go on to be widely hailed a classic.

From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a widely publicized feud with rapper Jay-Z; both rappers verbally attacked each other in their songs. [But ya don't really wanna continue to hear about this damn "Battle" da Ya'll?]

Among inspiring and influencing many modern day artists his lyricism has also earned him the respect from rap pioneers such as KRS-One, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.

Nas, whose given name Nasir means "helper and protector" in Arabic, spent the first years of his life in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. His father Olu Dara was a jazz trumpeter and his mother Fannie Ann Jones was a Postal Service worker. He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who assumes the alias Jungle. While in Brooklyn, Nas would listen to his father's trumpet in his house's stoop at age four. The family soon after moved to the Queensbridge Houses. Olu Dara left the household in 1986, when Nas was 13, and Ann Jones raised her two boys on her own. Nas soon dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He educated himself, reading about African culture and civilization, the 360° Lessons of the The Nation of Gods and Earths, Nubian Islamic Hebrew scrolls, the Bible and the Qur'an. He also studied the origin of hip hop music, taping records that played on his local radio station.

Nas had settled on pursuing a career as a rapper, and as a teenager enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willy "Ill Will" Graham as his DJ. Nas first went by the nickname Kid Wave before adopting his more commonly known alias of Nasty Nas. Despite the substantial buzz for Nas in the underground scene, the rapper was rejected by major labels and was not signed to a recording deal. Nas and Will continued to work together, but their partnership was cut short when Will was shot and killed by a gunman in Queensbridge on May 23, 1992.
Nas at the age of 18 performed on Main Source's Live at the BBQ, establishing himself as a child prodigy. In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records the same year. Nas made his solo debut under the name of "Nasty Nas" on the single "Halftime" from Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead and became part of the Chang Gang productions with Freshy C. The single increased the buzz surrounding Nas and when MC Serch's solo album was released later in the year, Nas’ standout appearance on "Back to the Grill Again" only intensified interest. Hailed as the second coming of Rakim, his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.

^Pumpin the Fist of a BraveHeart^
"First it was Nasty But times have changed"

In 1994, Nas's debut album, Illmatic was finally released. Critically acclaimed and widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, Illmatic was the first album awarded Five Mics from The Source magazine. It also featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock (one half of legendary group with C.L. Smooth), Q-Tip (frontman for A Tribe Called Quest), L.E.S. and DJ Premier (one half of Gang Starr) as well as guest appearances from Nas' friend AZ and his father Olu Dara. Aside from Halftime, three moderately popular singles were released in order to promote Illmatic. However, due to widespread bootlegging and a lack of corporate appeal, the album did not do well in terms of record sales. Despite this, the album gained Platinum Certification seven years later.
Following Illmatic, Nas appeared on AZ's Doe or Die and with his Queensbridge associates Mobb Deep on their album, The Infamous. One notable achievement during this period was Nas' verse on "Verbal Intercourse" on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It earned Nas a Source Quotable, and gave him the distinction (at the time) of being the only non-Wu-Tang Clan member to be featured on one of their songs. It also continued his "Nas Escobar" persona, in keeping with the Mafia theme of the album (the alias was introduced on Mobb Deep's "Eye for an Eye" from "The Infamous" album.
By 2006 (12 years after being in the music industry) and after working on and releasing multiple albums such as 'I Am...', 'Stillmatic' and others Nas released the Album "Hip-Hop is Dead" In January of that year, Nas signed a label deal with Def Jam, emphasizing collaboration over competition with former rival Jay-Z. Nas's original title for his next album was Hip Hop Is Dead...The N (shortened to Hip Hop Is Dead), though the UK release features a bonus track at the end called "The N." The album featured production from, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, and NBA All Star Chris Webber (Blunt Ashes - THATS MY SH*T! Go play that joint right now), as well as longtime Nas collaborators L.E.S. and Salaam Remi and newcomer Wyldfyer. A street single named "Where Y'all At" was released in June 2006. It was produced by Salaam Remi, and contained a sample from Nas "Made You Look," but it did not make the final cut for the album.
The title record and first single was produced by, and contains the same melodic sample ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida") as Nas' 2004 single "Thief's Theme." The album debuted on Def Jam and Nas new imprint at that label, The Jones Experience, at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 355,000 copies—Nas's third number one album, along with It Was Written and I Am…. A music video for "Can't Forget About You" premiered on February 5, 2007, the song featuring Chrisette Michele and sampling Nat King Cole's song "Unforgettable". Nat King Cole herself made a cameo at the end of the video. Another video, Hustlers, featuring The Game would follow. Also, Nas has stated in an interview with MTV that a video for "Black Republican" featuring Jay-Z is also underway.
The title of the album generated controversy, as many fans and artists (particularly those of Southern origin) began to debate over the actual state of rap music's vitality. With this album, Nas became an unofficial leader of the "Hip Hop Is Dead" movement. Ghostface Killah, on his album Fishscale seemed to agree with Nas and cited Southern crunk and snap music as the primary reasons for why hip-hop was "dead". (AMEN To that!) Many Southern acts, such as rappers Big Boi from Outkast, Lil Boosie, T.I., Young Jeezy, Dem Franchize Boyz, and D4L took offense to the title, taking it to be directed at their region in particular. However, southern rapper Andre 3000 from Outkast said in a interview that hip-hop is "dying". ( I blame Soulja Boy, But moving On)
Nas worked on a song called "Shine On 'Em" for the film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, which opened in US theaters on December 8, 2006. His song "Thief's Theme" was featured in one of the scenes in the Academy Award-winning movie The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese.
He has Since released another album which originally scheduled to be titled "Nigger". The title stired up much controversy and was then later changed to be called "Untitled." NaS has had and still has an amazing career, one that has outlived and gone on longer for more time than many Rappers that are or have been out.

Personal Thought:
NaS is Like.... lol (Shout outs to my man Rich aka Doom on this one) I've been a NaS fan for as long as I can remember. Let the record show that Jay-Z has always been my favorite rapper, but even throughout the time of their dispute I respected, and listened to NaS' music. I remember when "If I ruled the World (Imagine That)" dropped, there wasn't a word to that song that I didn't know, NaS' Lyrics over a classic beat accompanied by Lauryn Hill's melodic voice were all ingredients to a great track. When "Hip-Hop is Dead" was scheduled to release there wasn't a person alive that agreed with him more than I did. I had been saying since around late 2004 that Hip-Hop was dying and by the end of 2005 I assured myself that it had died in the hands of the south. No disrespect to artists such as Outkast, Ludacris, T.I., Young Jeezy, and just a Very few others because I believe they still make good music. But as for all the other who shall remain nameless... well I think you can see where this is going. I remember a few months ago I saw NaS in person while I was working at Saks Fifth Ave. I wanted so mush to go up to him and wife Kelis to shake his hand and ask him to autograph my iPod, but everyone told me not to because I'd possibly lose my job. I regret it so much now because I ended up losing it anyway. Well NaS if your reading this I want you to know that I'm a big fan, and in an industry where garbage is allowed to pass for music you are one of a handfull of artist's whose album release I would still glady and surely pay my hard earned money for. I wanna thank you for giving the world 15 years of great music. Stay up and Stay Tuned.

No comments: