Nas / Chelsea Theater / Las Vegas / October 6th /Tickets
Born Nasir Jones, in Queens, New York, on September 14, 1973, Nas is the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. He was raised in Queensbridge Houses — the largest public-housing project in America — where he wrote stories about his life growing up there. Despite his talent for writing, Nas dropped out of school in eighth grade, and his life on the streets would fuel a new style of writing: rap lyrics. His first mentor was Willy “Ill Will” Graham, who would play him hip-hop records and DJ as Nas rapped.
In 1991, rapping as Nasty Nas, he made a stunning debut with a guest verse on “Live at the Barbecue” by Main Source. Nas’ verse was a seamless melding of his writing skills and his street knowledge. The track was produced by Large Professor, who subsequently produced many of Nas’ early demos and continued to work with him throughout his career. In the wake of “Barbecue,” Nas was asked to contribute to the soundtrack for the film Zebrahead — a sort of hip-hop Romeo and Juliet set in Detroit — and the resulting song, “Halftime,” another collaboration with Large Professor, became his debut single in 1992, and would also appear on his debut album, Illmatic, two years later.