The rapper known as Nas was born as Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, in Brooklyn New York. His father was jazz musician Olu Dara, hence Nas’ middle names. Nasir had some rocky early years. His parents divorced when he was 12, and he dropped out of school in 8th grade.
Nas’ start in the rap game came in 1991 on the show Live at the Barbeque. The host of the event was the hip hop group Main Source. This gave him some exposure and he went on to sign with Columbia in 1992. This deal led to his first album in 1994, titled Illmatic. Fans of the genre widely consider it one of the best hip hop albums of all times. Nas was often compared to Rakim, another of the best MCs of all time.
All his success brought a lot of wealth, and Nas was eager to make use of it. He had an interest in meeting the smartest people he could, whether inside or outside the music industry.
Nas’ early investments
Nas partnered with Guerilla Union in 2012. They are the promoters of the Rock the Bells music festival. Nas had been an act on the bill since 2005, and it only felt natural for both parties to link up formally. The owner Chang Weisberg stated: “That’s an amazing resource to have when Nas’ll reach out to people. He’s like a player/coach.”
Nas entered the publishing business in 2013. He invested an undisclosed sum into the Mass Appeal Magazine, and became the associate producer. This is a magazine that started as a “fanzine” that has since turned into a media company with wide interests that often revolve around hip hop culture.
In 2013 he also became a co-owner of a sneaker shop in Las Vegas named 12AM:RUN. This was potentially influenced by his 2008 entry into this industry via a sponsor deal with the sports company Fila.
In 2014 Nas founded his own investment firm called Queensbridge Venture Partners. They specialize in the tech startup industry. To date they have invested in over 100 tech companies. Some of the most notable firms they have invested in are Genius, Dropbox, and Bitcoin.
Nas personally has a strong relationship with Genius, and was the first famous rapper to have an official account there. He has used it to relay his lyrics and their message, as well as comment on the lyrics of other artists he enjoys.
All the above shows why some call Nas an autodidact; a self taught individual. He is a magnetic personality and a shining example of what someone can accomplish when they set their mind to it.