Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was born September 14, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York.His father, Olu Dara (born Charles Jones III), is a jazz and blues musician, from Mississippi. His mother, Fannie Ann (Little) Jones, was a Postal Service worker from North Carolina. He has one sibling, a brother named Jabari Fret who is best known as “Jungle”, a member of the hip hop group Bravehearts. His father took his name “Olu Dara” from the Yoruba people. His African DNA indicates he has roots in countries with high Yoruba populations Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana – as well as Mali, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Senegal. He also found that his Y-DNA traces directly back to Scandinavia, through which he is a descendant of the Vikings.
As a young child, Nas and his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. His neighbor, Willy “Ill Will” Graham, influenced Nas’s interest in hip hop by playing him records. His parents divorced in 1985, and he dropped out of school after the eighth grade. In his early years, he played the trumpet and began writing his own rhymes.
Nas is a living legend and a true pioneer of hip-hop, especially in New York. His rise to fame came with the release of his first album, Illmatic, which was released in 1994. Illmatic propelled him into the rap Elite and into a life of success. However, many may remember him for his feuds with other rappers, and even his marriage to Kelis, but most people still don’t know who the real Nasir Jones is. Here are some things you didn’t know about Nas.
- Nas’s legal name, Nasir, means “helper and protector” in Arabic.
- Nas smoked his first blunt when he was 11. He has only been in jail once, and that was for smoking weed.
- Nas composed two songs with 50 Cent, helped him write his verses and even took him on his first tour.
- Nas’s brother Jungle once slapped 50 Cent in the studio for saying he didn’t want to smoke weed.
- Nas cried when 2 Pac and Biggie died.
- Nas often used to undergo weird episodes where he’d disappear and no one knew where he was. Most of the time, he spent time in a secret apartment he kept in Long Island writing lyrics.
- Nas’s baby mama Carmen, who also dated Jay-Z, once stated that Hov was obsessed with Nas. She said Jay had a huge vinyl collection of rare Nas records in his Manhattan apartment.
- Nas was suspended from high school in the 7th grade for stabbing a fellow student with a pencil. He speaks about his actions on the song “John Blaze”: “I used to pack a No. 2 pencil stabbin’ students”. Nas dropped out of school in the 8th grade.
- After the release of Illmatic, Nas wanted to go to film school, but, because of its unexpected success, he decided against his goal. Illmatic was recorded when Nas was 17-18 years old.
He has released 10 studio albums, starting in 1994, and has been nominated for 11 grammys, however he has never taken home the prize.