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 Nas [Biography]

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P.J KING
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PostSubject: Nas [Biography]   Fri 25 May - 16:26



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NAS; Nasir Jones born September 14, 1973

known simply as Nas, formerly Nasty Nas, is an American rapper.

The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas is best known for his 1994 debut album Illmatic, considered by many as one of the greatest and most celebrated 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 spanned through early hip-hop, including the Juice Crew, Marley Marl, and MC Shan.

In the years following the release of Illmatic, Nas pursued a more mainstream direction, which resulted in wider success but decreased artistic credibility among critics and hip-hop purists. Furthermore, Nas' increased commercial success was accompanied by stylistic changes that fostered accusations of giving in to corporate wishes that compromised the style his fans enamored. Nevertheless, the LP Stillmatic is often credited for restoring Nas' credibility among fans. Since the success of Stillmatic, Nas continues to maintain a high profile within the hip-hop community, and has pursued a decidedly personal aesthetic. He remains one of the most respected and acclaimed contemporary rappers, both with audiences and critics alike.

Biography

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 had one sibling, a brother named Jabari who assumed the alias "Jungle" because he was born in Congo. While in Brooklyn, Nas would listen to his father's trumpet on his house's stoop at age four. The family soon after moved to the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing project in the United States. 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 Bible and the Qur'an. He also studied the origin of hip hop music, taping records that played on his local radio station. Nas' interests moved away from playing the trumpet as a child to being a comic book artist .

By his golden years, he had settled on pursuing a career as a rapper, and as a teenager enlisted his best friend and upstairs neighbor Willie "Ill Will" Graham as his DJ. Nas first went by the nickname Kid Wave before adopting his more commonly known alias of Nasty Nas[3]. Nas and Graham soon met hip-hop producer and Queens resident Large Professor (William Mitchell), who introduced Nas to his Toronto-based group, Main Source. In 1991, Nas made his on-record debut with a verse on "Live at the Barbeque", from Main Source's LP Breaking Atoms. 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 Graham continued to work together, but their partnership was cut short when Graham was shot and killed by a gunman in Queensbridge on May 23, 1992.

1992–1995: The recording and release of Illmatic

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 on the single "Halftime" from Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead. The single increased the buzz surrounding Nas and when MC Serch’s solo album is released later in the year, Nas’ standout appearance on "Back To The Grill" only intensified interest. Hailed as the second coming of Rakim, his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.

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 featured lyrics that portrayed stunning visual imagery and 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 its lack of commercial appeal, and massive bootlegging, the album did not do well in terms of record sales.

Following Illmatic, Nas appeared on AZ's Doe Or Die album, and collaborated 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 Mafioso-theme of the album (the alias was introduced on Mobb Deep's "Eye for an Eye" from "The Infamous" album.

1995–1998: From It Was Written to The Firm

Columbia began to press Nas to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of the rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained pop-friendly appeal. Nas traded manager MC Serch for Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second LP, It Was Written, consciously working towards a crossover-oriented sound. It Was Written, chiefly produced by Tone and Poke of Trackmasters Entertainment, was released during the summer of 1996. Two singles, "If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)" (featuring Lauryn Hill of The Fugees) and "Street Dreams" using the same sample as Tupac Shakur's "All Eyez on Me" base track and (a remix features R. Kelly) were instant hits. These songs were promoted by big-budget music videos directed by Hype Williams, making Nas a common name among mainstream hip-hop. It Was Written featured the debut of The Firm, a super group consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega. The album also expanded on Nas' Escobar persona, who lived more of a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle. On the other hand, Illmatic, which, while having numerous references to Tony Montana and the theatrical hit featuring Al Pacino, was more about Nas' life as a teenager in the projects.

The Firm signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label, and began working on their debut album. Halfway through the production of the album, Cormega was fired from the group by Steve Stoute, who had unsuccessfully attempted to force Cormega to sign a deal with his management company. Cormega therefore became one of Nas' most vocal opponents, releasing a number of underground hip-hop singles "dissing" Nas, Stoute, and Nature, who was Cormega's replacement in The Firm. Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album was finally released in 1997 to mixed reviews and lackluster sales and the members of the super group went their separate ways.

At about this time, Nas became a spokesperson for the Willie Esco urban clothing line, but had no other connection with the clothing line. He stopped promoting Willie Esco in 2000, dissatisfied with the company's operations. During the same period, Nas co-wrote and starred in Hype Williams' 1998 feature film Belly, which also featured DMX, Method Man, Taral Hicks, and T-Boz of TLC among its cast.


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PostSubject: Re: Nas [Biography]   Fri 25 May - 16:41



1998–2000: I Am... to Nastradamus

In 1998, Nas began work on a double album. It was to be entitled I Am...The Autobiography, which he intended as the middle ground between the extremes of Illmatic and It Was Written. The plans were for it to be a double album autobiography of Nas with each track detailing a part of his life. The album was completed in early 1999, and a music video was shot for its lead single, "Nas Is Like." It was produced by DJ Premier and contained vocal samples from "It Ain't Hard to Tell." Much of the LP was leaked into MP3 format onto the Internet and Nas and Stoute quickly recorded enough substitute material to constitute a single-disc release. Those leaked tracks include "Amongst Kings," "Blaze a 50," "Drunk By Myself," "Hardest Thing to Do Is Stay Alive," "U Gotta Love It," "Find Ya Wealth," "Project Windows," "Fetus," "Wanna Play Rough," "Sometimes I Wonder," and "Daydreamin, Stay Scheming."

The second single for I Am was "Hate Me Now," featuring Sean "Puffy" Combs, which was used as an example by Nas' critics of him moving towards commercial themes. Hype Williams shot an allegorical video for the single, which featured Nas and Puffy being crucified in a manner similar to Jesus; after the video was completed, Combs, a Catholic, requested his crucifixion scene be edited out of the video. However, the unedited copy of the "Hate Me Now" video made its way to MTV, and was premiered on April 15, 1999 on TRL. Within minutes of the broadcast, a furious Combs and his bodyguards allegedly made their way into Steve Stoute's office and assaulted him, at one point apparently hitting Stoute over the head with a champagne bottle[4]. Stoute pressed charges, but he and Combs settled out-of-court that June.

Columbia had scheduled to release the pirated material from I Am under the title Nastradamus during the latter half of 1999, but, at the last minute, Nas decided that he should record an entire new album for the 1999 release of Nastradamus. Nastradamus was therefore rushed to meet a November release date. Though critics were not kind to the album, it did result in a minor hit, "You Owe Me." It was produced by Timbaland and featured R&B singer Ginuwine. The only pirated track from I Am... to make it onto Nastradamus was "Project Windows," featuring Ronald Isley. A number of the other bootlegged tracks later made their way onto The Lost Tapes, a collection of underground Nas songs that was released by Columbia in September 2002. The collection saw decent sales and received glowing reviews.

2000–2001: The Nas vs. Jay-Z rivalry and Stillmatic

The highly publicized rivalry between Nas and Jay-Z started when Nas failed to show up to a scheduled recording session to record a guest verse on Jay-Z's "Can I Live." This cut was off the Reasonable Doubt album.[citation needed] After the Notorious BIG died, there was much debate over who would be "King of New York".

Nas sold over two million and went 2x platinum with his sophomore album titled "It Was Written," featuring the huge single "If I Ruled the World." Jay had just dropped the future platinum selling "In My Lifetime Vol.1", being that they both had connections to BIG; Jay was a frequent collaborator and Nas actually had a subliminal battle with the Brooklyn-born rapper.

Even though it was obvious to most hip hop heads that a rivalry existed between Nas and Jay-Z, the rivalry wasn't made known to the general public until a rivalry between Nas, and Jay-Z's protégé, Memphis Bleek. On his debut album, Coming of Age, Bleek made a song entitled "Memphis Bleek Is," which was similar in concept to Nas' single "Nas Is Like." On the same album, Bleek recorded "What You Think Of That," featuring Bleek's mentor, Jay-Z. This contains the refrain, "I'ma ball 'til I fall/What you think of that?". In retaliation, "Nastradamus," the title track from Nas' second 1999 album, featured the quote, "You wanna ball till you fall, I can help you with that/You want beef? I could let a slug melt in your hat." Memphis Bleek perceived the reference on "Nastradamus" as an insult, and retaliated against Nas on the lead single for his next album, The Understanding. That single, "My Mind Right," stated "And only a few fit in, your lifestyle's written/So who you supposed to be, play your position".

In 2000, QB's Finest was released on Nas' Ill Will Records. QB's Finest is a compilation album that featured Nas and a number of other rappers from Queensbridge projects, including Mobb Deep, Nature, Capone, The Bravehearts, Tragedy Khadafi, Millennium Thug and Cormega, who had briefly reconciled with Nas. The album also featured guest appearances from Queensbridge hip-hop legends Roxanne Shante, MC Shan, and Marley Marl. Shan and Marley Marl both appeared on the lead single "Da Bridge 2001," which was based on Shan & Marl's 1986 recording "The Bridge." "Da Bridge 2001" also featured a response from Nas to Memphis Bleek, in which Nas retaliated with "Oh you didn't, wanna know whose life was written/The life I'm livin" and "Jaws is broke, your whole crew is coffin bound/Your ho, your man, lieutenant, your boss get found".

Jay-Z responded to Nas' songs with an on stage swipe during the 2001 Hot 97 Summer Jam concert in New York City, when he premiered his song "Takeover." Initially, the song was to only be a Mobb Deep "diss;" it only included a single line about Nas near the end. Nevertheless, Nas recorded the "Stillmatic Freestyle," an underground single which sampled Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full" beat, and attacked Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella label. On his 2001 album, The Blueprint, Jay-Z rewrote "Takeover" to "diss" Nas, claiming that he had "...one hot album every ten year average" record (referring to Illmatic), that his flow was weak, and that he had fabricated his past as a hustler.

Nas responded with Ether, which begins with gunshots and a repeated, slowed-down sample from "Fuck Friendz" of Tupac Shakur rapping "Fuck Jay-Z." Ether is considered by many to be one of his and the best diss songs of all time. In "Ether," Nas accuses Jay-Z of stealing ("biting") lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G., getting the name "Blueprint" from a previous KRS-One album of the same name, and brown-nosing Nas and other rappers for fame. Nas also claimed that all of Jay-Z's raps on The Blueprint were inferior to the one guest verse on the album (Eminem's on "Renegade"): "Eminem murdered you on your own shit...". "Ether" was included on Nas' fifth studio album, Stillmatic, released in December 2001. Stillmatic managed to be not only a critically-acclaimed comeback album, but a commercial success as well, albeit not on the level of It Was Written and I Am...; the album debuted at #7 on the Billboard album charts and featured the singles "Got Ur Self A..." and "One Mic."

Jay-Z responded to "Ether" with a song entitled "Supa Ugly," going into detail about how he had sex with Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas' daughter Destiny. This wasn't the first time Jay-Z alluded to his relationship with Nas' baby mother the song "Is That Your Chick" the lost verses addition was said to be all about Jay, Carmen and Nas. Nas dismissed the track by claiming that he was no longer with Bryan during the time the affair took place. In a recent interview, however, New York radio station Hot 97 settled the battle taking votes comparing "Ether"/"Stillmatic" and "Takeover"/"Supa Ugly," and Nas won with 58% while Jay-Z got 42% of the votes[citation needed].

Jay-Z also responded to Nas on Jay-Z's 2002 album, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse on the track named "Blueprint 2." On that track, Jay-Z says that no matter what happened in the battle, he's never been phony and that Nas is hypocritical for recording songs like 'Black Girl Lost" and then turning around and taking advantage of those same lost black girls on tracks like 'You Owe Me'. Jay-Z also claims that he single handedly revitalized Nas' career by dissing him in the first place.

Nas spoke about the battle once more on the track "Last Real Nigga Alive" from the album God's Son. On this track Nas breaks down how the battle went down. He raps about coming up in the game with fellow artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie Smalls and others. Nas raps how Jay-Z came in the mix with this line: "Jigga started to flow like us, but hit with 'Ain't No Niggas'", how Jay-Z tried to attack when Nas and his mother went through a difficult time: "I gave it all up so I can chill at home with mama/She was getting old and sick so I stayed beside her/We had the best times, she asked would I make more songs/I told her not till I see her health get more strong/In the middle of that, Jay tried to sneak attack/Assassinate my character, degrade my hood/Cause in order for him to be the Don, Nas had to go". And on the track Nas had claimed victory, "I was Scarface, Jay was Manolo/It hurt me when I had to kill him and his whole squad for dolo".

By October 2005, the two rappers had eventually ended their feud without violence or animosity. During Jay-Z's I Declare War - Power House concert, Jay-Z announced to the crowd, "It's bigger than 'I Declare War'. Let's go, Esco!" Nas then joined Jay-Z onstage, and the two then performed "Dead Presidents" together, which Jay-Z had sampled from Nas' song The World Is Yours. The two also collaborated on a song called, "Black Republican" which can be found on Nas' most recent CD, "Hip Hop is Dead."
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PostSubject: Re: Nas [Biography]   Fri 25 May - 16:56



2002–2005: From God's Son to Street's Disciple

In December 2002, Nas released the God's Son album including its lead single, "Made You Look" which utilized a pitched down sample of the Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache". The album debuted at eighteen on the Billboard charts despite widespread internet bootlegging. Time Magazine named his album best hip-hop album of the year. Vibe Magazine gave it four stars and The Source gave it four mics. The second single, "I Can", which reworked elements from Beethoven's "Für Elise", became Nas' biggest hit to date during the spring and summer of 2003, garnering substantial radio airplay on urban, rhythmic, and top 40 radio stations, as well as on the MTV and VH1 music video networks. God's Son also includes several songs dedicated to memory of Nas' mother, who died of cancer in 2002, including "Dance". In 2003, Nas was featured on the Korn song "Play Me", from Korn's Take a Look in the Mirror LP. Also in 2003, a live performance in New York City, featuring Ludacris, Jadakiss, and Darryl McDaniels (of Run-D.M.C. fame), was released on DVD as Made You Look: God's Son Live.

Nas released his seventh studio album, the critically acclaimed double-disc Street's Disciple, on November 30, 2004. The album's first singles were "Thief's Theme" and "Bridging the Gap", which features his father Olu Dara on vocals. The album also includes "These Are Our Heroes", which accuses prominent sports stars and actors such as Kobe Bryant and O.J. Simpson of not setting good examples for the kids that look up to them and neglecting their heritage and background in favour of white values. The videos for "Bridging the Gap" and "Just A Moment" received moderate airplay on MTV and BET. Although the album went platinum, its commercial profile was relatively low compared to the rapper's previous releases.

Nas was featured on Kanye West's album Late Registration on a song titled "We Major". West said the song was Jay-Z's favorite on the album, but West was unable to get Jay-Z to record a vocal for the final mix of the song. He also appeared on Damian Marley's song "Road to Zion" and several other songs such as "Death Anniversary" and "It Wasn't You" (featuring Lauryn Hill). In addition, Nas married R&B singer Kelis on January 8, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia, after a two-year engagement.

At a free concert in Central Park, New York, Nas made a statement regarding the quality of 50 Cent's music; "this is the real shit, not that 50 Cent shit!"[citation needed]. 50 Cent responded on his single “Piggy Bank” by speaking negatively about Nas’ wife, Kelis; implying that she was promiscuous and calling Nas a "sucker for love." Nas was quoted as saying that he feels no obligation to retaliate, remarking "[50 has] got a good five to six more albums before I can really respond to him."[citation needed] Nas eventually decided to retaliate, and in July 2005 released "Don't Body Ya Self (MC Burial)", a song which taunts 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew, stating that 50 was "a sucka for death if I'm a sucka for love." However, despite all of this, Nas still claims to "have a lot of love towards 50", claiming 50 didn't understand his moves when they both were together at Columbia Records.

2006-present: Hip Hop Is Dead and controversy

In January 2006, Nas signed a label deal with Def Jam, further emphasizing the Jay-Z/Nas truce, and raising expectations for a collaboration even higher. After some time, Nas and Def Jam agreed on an official title, Hip Hop Is Dead...The N, which was 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 will.i.am, Kanye West, Dr. Dre and Scott Storch, as well as longtime Nas collaborators L.E.S. and Salaam Remi. A street single named "Where Y'all At" was released in June of 2006. It was produced by Salaam Remi, and contained a sample from Nas' "Made You Look," but it did not make Hip Hop Is Dead's final cut.

His first single, bearing the name of the record, was produced by will.i.am, 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 3rd number one album, along with 1996's It Was Written and 1999's I Am... Nas, upon signing with Def Jam, will be releasing a further 3 records/albums under the label as part of his contract. A music video for "Can't Forget About You" has been made the world premiere came out on February 5, 2007, while "Hustlers" and "Black Republican" are being considered for future video shootings. "Can't Forget About You" featuring Chrisette Michele boasts a sample from Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable."

The title of the album generated plenty of controversy, as many fans and artists (particularly those of Southern origin) began to debate over the actual state of rap music's vitality; several Southern acts took offense to the title, taking it to be directed at their region in particular.Syracuse based rapper R.D. even went as far as saying it was directed toward white and hispanic rappers coming into the rap industry as murdering rap.

Nas featured on Sin's mixtape Team Invasion, DJ Kurupt & DJ Scream Present: Sizzerb Mixtape Vol. 3 - Opium Garden in October 2006 and also worked on a song called "Shine On 'Em" for the film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, which opened in US theatres 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.

Nas has recently mentioned a new album in the works this year. According to an MTV interview he is quoted of saying,"New album is in the making right now," outside the set of his new video for "Can't Forget About You."

Nas also is making a shoe called The Disciples with 310 Motoring, the same shoe maker that made The Game's Hurricane sneakers, and is expected to be released to the public by next year.

Nas is currently on a nation-wide tour promoting his latest album Hip Hop Is Dead and will be playing several dates in the UK in May. But his last performance in San Diego was cancelled due to a conflict with the club's security. Nas was quoted of saying he was treated like a "terrorist".

Nas's video for Hustler's the 3rd single off of Hip Hop Is Dead has already been shot according to The Game in an interview with MTV Also, Nas has stated in an interview with MTV that a video for Black Republican featuring Jay-Z is also underway and is being directed by an unknown director. Many other rappers such as Lil' Wayne, and Papoose have made remixes of Black Republican and changed the chorus to Black Democrat in order to show support for democrats although it is not known if Nas is actually a registered member of the Republican. However, he does express his disapproval of President George W. Bush in many interviews.

A reality MTV reality series entitled Mr. and Mrs. Jones will feature the lives of Nas and Kelis. The release date has not yet been determined.

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