Born: September 14, 1973, New York, United States| Successful For: Hip Hop Artist | Zodiac Sign: Virgo
“No matter who you are, black, white, green, there’s going to be things in your way, you know what I mean?”
– Quote by Nas
3 Keys To Success From Nas’ Biography:
Nas’ Childhood Consisted Of Playing Instruments, Writing Comics and Flowing With His Inner Passion’s:
Nasir Jones grew up in a housing project, which was a ghetto portion of New York where hip-hop had major influence, and rap inspired him heavily. Other rap pioneers also lived in the same complex. He recalls in a Sprite Obey your Thirst interview, that he was always ambitious to voice his opinions and express his ideas to the world, whether he was writing comics or setting up his room like an office at age 10 to visualize being an entrepreneur one day. As a kid, he would take interest in writing short stories and poetry about his environment. He claims to have been inspired by several films by George Lucas and Martin Scorsese. He even wanted to be an instrumentalist at one point. His father was a jazz musician, and Nas would practice with his trumpet. His parents would separate and Nas escaped household issues by becoming very intrigued with hip hop culture.
A childhood friend, Willy Graham would play different records and teach him more about the world of MC’ing. At age 9 he joined a group called Devastatin’ Seven and later made Willy his DJ. He enjoyed writing but dropped out in the 8th grade when he began writing with his rap lyrics instead. Nas would delve into the scene performing as a street artist and began producing too. Exiting school meant he would learn from the dangerous streets around him which were noted in his lyrics.
Eventually he earned a verse on the infamous “Live at the Barbeque” track where he gained attention. He got his big break when he got the opportunity to create a song for a soundtrack. The producer quickly made it the #1 song. “I love the art world, I love art galleries, I love what it means – I love art.” Nas’ passion for art was very strong, and his ex-girlfriend once mentioned in an interview that he would often disappear without telling anyone, into an apartment, where he would write lyrics and had rhyme pages everywhere. Nas would pursue a lifelong journey of mastering his craft of rhyming in a poetic fashion with his gritty, raw and storytelling ways. It was an internal desire that would essentially never fade away.
He Was Always Focused On The Good Within The Bad, The Hope Within The Struggles:
Nas was surrounded around poverty, crime and drugs in the housing projects of Queensbridge and even though many around him fell victim to the struggle, he was focused on the brighter picture. However, the lifestyle around him did begin to interfere with him as he was suspended in the 7th grade for stabbing a kid with a pencil, he went to jail at the age of 11 for smoking weed and he would drop out by the 8th grade. Looking hindsight, Nas has commented on his life lessons saying “Mistakes are masterful teachers.” He adapted to the negative woods and made some rough friends who were always available in the mean streets. In 1992, Nas’ brother, Jungle and his best friend, were shot. His brother survived but his best friend would not live through the injuries. He told Time magazine that this served as a big wake up call for his direction.
Rather than magnify his music on the violence, he would focus his rhymes around the triumphs over the struggle and sang about the celebration of overcoming the dark tragedies. Nas had an incredible ability to shift his attention to positivity and hope. Even though hip hop mogul Russell Simmons passed on signing him to Def Jam, he kept a steady hand on the pulse, which led to being signed by Colombia where he released ‘Illmatic’. The album wouldn’t be so highly recognized until years later. “I wish the music business was a much easier thing, but you know what? Nothing easy is worth anything. So it is what it is. There comes a time when things can work out and everybody can be happy. And that’s what it’s all about in the end- everybody being happy and working it out.”
At the age of 20, when Nas had a baby girl named Destiny, he pushed a shopping cart through the hood giving away bottles of champagne. Today, Nas is a partner and spokesperson with many ‘good cause’ companies aimed at helping urban youth. Recently, the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship has been honored by Harvard university. Nas’ uplifting spirit has awarded him with much success. “I wanted to have fun. It’s a beautiful life. You learn, you win, you lose, but you get up.”
Nas Is A Life-Long Learner, And He Created Good Relationships And Role Models :
Once Nas dropped out, he began learning from the school of hard knocks and he gained emotional intelligence f. He also realized the power of being self-taught as he would educate himself about African culture through Fiver Percent Nation, the Bible, and the Nuwaubian Nation. He obtained a high degree of literacy. A neighbor taught him all about hip hop and he read a lot of books about culture from different countries. Nas has also discussed another form of his intake of knowledge, saying he grew up on PBS, the History and Discovery channels.
Nas was good at making and choosing friends wisely too, and his good characteristics attracted the right people. He was considered by close friends as a very sophisticated and intellectual man. Helping others was apart of Nas’ well-liked nature and he assisted his ex-girlfriend with a law case.
In the late 80’s, Nas made a solid connection with producer Large Professor. On a few occasions he went to his studio where legends Rakim (who become a mentor) and Kool G Rap were recording, and he would get time in the booth to record some material. Making friends with MC Serch paid off massive too, securing a deal for Nas with Colombia Records.
“I don’t want any title. I just say what I say, and hopefully somebody gets it, man. I’m not perfect, and I’m just here and trying to make a dollar, and being real at the same time, you know?” Nas’ realness was what many people really liked about him, he was authentic, and he was not afraid to be exactly who he was. “The flaws, the mistakes I make – that’s the real me.” He was admired for those intuitive notions of not caring if other’s didn’t like him or his style either. He wasn’t afraid to battle other giants like 2pac or Jay-Z, which subsequently earned him more respect.
Building links was becoming second nature and soon he was featuring with P.Diddy, Notorious B.I.G., and others. His philosophy is “Working with great people makes you great; you learn a lot and it gives you the experience and confidence to move on with your own career.”
Nas wasn’t just about himself, he understood the power of receiving and giving, sparking many young MC’s careers, as he even helped compose two songs for 50 Cent, helped him write, and took him on tour as well.
“You cant please everybody. You’d be crazy if you’re trying to. So take some time out to do some things for yourself.”
– Quote by Nas