Updated: Sep 14, 2019
The Queens Bridge rapper Nas celebrates his 46th birthday today. One of the greatest US MC's of all time, arguably in the top five.
Nas has been a remarkable force in hip-hop for decades. Since the early 90s, Nasty Nas has created enough material to make him a strong contender for the hip-hop crown.
10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Nas
Nas debut album, Illmatic, was released on April 19, 1994, and was an instantaneous hit which propelled him into the ranks of hip hop’s best. 'Illmatic,' the 1994 platinum-selling album by is the artist's best album and arguably one of the greatest rap album ever. Not only has it been critically acclaimed, but it reached #2 on the "Billboard" R&B/Hip-Hop chart and resided there for 28 weeks. It's even been given a 20th-anniversary edition as a reissue. As a work, the iconic album succeeds in part because it's packed with lyrics, not only about Nas' superior skills but also about life, crime, and vitamins.
"Billboard" magazine calls it "a vivid, emotive look into life as a youngster in the streets of Queensbridge."
2. FILM vs. MUSIC
Nas dropped out of school in the eighth-grade. After the release of Illmatic, Nas wanted to go to film school, but, because of its unexpected success, he decided against his goal.
3. MASS APPEAL RECORDS
Nas launched the independent label Mass Appeal Records in 2014 which counts among others, himself, Pimp C, Mannie Fresh, David East, Run the Jewels, J Dilla to its roster of artists.
4. ONE TAKE
Nas recorded N.Y. State of Mind in just one take - it’s a story that exemplifies why the artist is one of the best lyricists in the business.
6. ACTING CREDITS
Nas acting credits include several feature films and television shows such as Hawaii Five-O (2010) and Black Nativity (2013).
7. BELLY MOVIE STARRING NAS & JAY-Z?!
Hype Williams Says JAY-Z's Name Popped Up During 'Belly's Casting.
While discussing the movie alongside co-stars T-Boz and Nas, Williams said JAY-Z was considered for one of the starring roles. If DMX were unable to play the troubled Tommy, Williams revealed JAY-Z would've been a viable option.
8. NAS & BAD BOY RECORDS
Nas was close to signing to Bad Boy in 1993 but was having problems with member Craig Mack.
9. TUPAC's AND BIGGIE's DEATH
Nas cried when 2 Pac and Biggie died.
When I heard that [Tupac] had something about me in Makavelli, we talked about it and he said he would take it out after me and him met and voiced our opinions on everything. He said, ‘I’m cool with taking that out [of the record]. He was like, ‘Yeah I’ve got that on my record going at you.’ But he passed… the day before my birthday… we were going to meet in Vegas. I was in Vegas and it rained in Vegas when he passed. That was a trip. I have way too much respect for Tupac, way too much. He was a God.
10. NAS HAS AN ARABIC NAME
Nas's legal name, Nasir, means "helper and protector" in Arabic.