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NAS is an American rapper. Rooted in East Coast hip hop, he is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas began his musical career in 1989 under the moniker "Nasty Nas", and recorded demos under the wing of fellow East Coast rapper Large Professor. Nas first guest appeared on his group, Main Source's 1991 song "Live at the Barbeque". Nas's debut album, Illmatic (1994) is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time; in 2020, the album was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry. His second album, It Was Written (1996) debuted atop the Billboard 200 and sold over a quarter-million units in its first week; the album, along with its single "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" (featuring Lauryn Hill), propelled Nas into mainstream success. Both released in 1999, Nas's third and fourth albums I Am and Nastradamus were criticized as inconsistent and too commercially oriented, with critics and audiences fearing a decline in the quality of his output. From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track "Ether". The feud, along with Nas's subsequent releases Stillmatic (2001), God's Son (2002), and the double album Street's Disciple (2004) helped him restore his critical standing. Nas then reconciled with Jay-Z prior to signing with his then-spearheaded label, Def Jam Recordings in 2006; he adopted a more provocative, politicized direction with the albums Hip Hop Is Dead (2006) and his untitled ninth studio album (2008). In 2010, Nas released Distant Relatives, a collaborative album with Damian Marley that donated its royalties to active African charities. His tenth studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. After thirteen nominations, his thirteenth studio album, King's Disease (2020) won his first Grammy for Best Rap Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. His five subsequent albums—King's Disease II, Magic (2021), King's Disease III (2022), Magic 2, and Magic 3 (2023)—each received positive reception and were produced entirely by producer Hit-Boy. Nas has been second ranked by The Source on their "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time" list in 2012, fourth on MTV's Annual Hottest MCs in the Game list in 2013, and was named the "Greatest MC of All Time" by in 2014. The following year, Nas was featured on the "10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard. Outside of recording, he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine, and co-founded its spin-off division Mass Appeal Records, a record label which has signed artists including Dave East, N.O.R.E., Run the Jewels, and Swizz Beatz, among others. Nas has released seventeen studio albums since 1994, ten of which are certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum in the U.S.
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