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Decades: 1990s 2000s
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Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, 14 September 1973, Long Island, New York, USA. From the tough Queensbridge housing projects which brought the world Marley Marl, MC Shan and Intelligent Hoodlum, Nas made his name as a highly skilled rapper with the double whammy of 1994’s Illmatic and 1996’s It Was Written, albums whose music was crafted with a degree of subtlety and forethought often absent from the genre. Jones was heavily influenced by his jazz-playing father, Olu Dara, and started rapping at the age of nine, graduating to a crew entitled the Devastatin’ Seven in the mid-80s. He met Main Source producer Large Professor in 1989, in the course of recording his first demo tape. The producer introduced him to the crew, leading to his debut on Main Source’s 1991 collection Breaking Atoms, guesting on the cut ‘Live At The Barbeque’, where he was part of a skilled chorus line, alongside Large Professor and Akinyele. Though he was widely applauded...

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