Nas

The opinion that Nasir Jones—better known as simply Nas—is one of the most important rappers of all time is all but unanimous. The New York native took the world by storm at age 21 with his 1994 debut album Illmatic, which is regarded by many as the greatest hip-hop album ever made, and particularly a pillar in New York City’s vast rap legacy. Nas continued to soar both critically and commercially throughout the 90s with subsequent albums It Was Written and I Am…, which bolstered his reputation as a preeminent lyricist and leader in hip-hop. Nas set an artistic standard to which others would be held for years to come. Even his beef with JAY-Z in the early 2000s (circa Stillmatic and God’s Son) is still favorably remembered as one of the most iconic moments in hip-hop history. After a quarter of a century and twelve* studio albums, Nas’ legacy endures. Most recently, 2018’s Nasir (executive-produced by Kanye West) is his first album in six years.