Nas was born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. He moved with his family to Queensbridge at an early age.
His father, Olu Dara, is a jazz and blues musician from Natchez, Mississippi. Dara played with avant-garde artists such as David Murray and Art Blakey before his son's claim led to him making albums under his own name. Nas' dad performed the trumpet solo at the end of the Illmatic track, "Life's a Bitch" and on "Dance" from God's Son, a posthumous tribute to the rapper's late mom, Anne Jones. (She died of breast cancer on April 7, 2002).
Nas upstairs neighbor, Willy "Ill Will" Graham, helped spur his interest in hip hop by playing him records. Once he started rapping as a teenager, Nas enlisted Ill Will as his DJ.
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