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ranked him first on their list of the "50 Greatest MCs of All Time" in 2014, and a year later, Nas was featured on "The 10 Best Rappers of All Time" list by Billboard.
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, South Africa, and Senegal.
From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track "Ether". In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa.
His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Columbia Records began to press Nas to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of The Notorious B. G., who had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained radio-friendly appeal.
In 1995, Nas did guest performances on the albums Doe or Die by AZ, The Infamous by The Infamous Mobb Deep, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon and 4,5,6 by Kool G Rap.
The album also expanded on Nas's Escobar persona, who lived a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle.
Nas's follow-up It Was Written debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for four consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in two months, and made Nas internationally known.
In the late-1980s, he met up with the producer Large Professor and went to the studio where Rakim and Kool G Rap were recording their albums.
When they were not in the recording studio, Nas would go into the booth and record his own material. In 1991, Nas performed on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque".
Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date.
[...] Nas never became 'the next Rakim,' nor did he really have to. The sublime lyricism of the CD, combined with the fact that it was delivered into the crucible of the boiling East-West conflict, quickly solidified [his] reputation as the premier writer of his time.