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Nas Enlists DJ Premier for His New Joint “Define My Name”

Beginning with his classic debut, Illmatic (1994), Nas has stood tall as one of New York City’s leading rap voices, outspokenly expressing a righteous, self-empowered swagger that has endeared him to critics and hip-hop purists. Whether proclaiming himself “Nasty Nas” or “Nas Escobar” or “Nastradamus” or “God’s Son,” the self-appointed King of New York has battled numerous adversaries, none more challenging than Jay-Z, who vied with Nas for the throne left in the wake of the Notorious B.I.G’s 1997 assassination. Such headline-worthy drama has informed his provocative rhymes, delivered with a masterful flow and a wise perspective over beats by a range of producers, from DJ Premier and Pete Rock to the Alchemist and Kanye West. Nas has continually matured as an artist, evolving from a young street disciple to a vain, all-knowing sage and humbled godly teacher, as illustrated through Hip Hop Is Dead (2006), Nas (2008), and Life Is Good (2012), all of which were Grammy nominated. Since relaunching and expanding the multimedia hip-hop company Mass Appeal, he’s continued to build his deep discography with releases such as Nasir (2018), and a string of collaborations with producer Hit-Boy that includes the Grammy-winning King’s Disease (2020), King’s Disease Il (2021) and III (2022) as well as a trilogy of releases in the Magic series, ending with 2023’s Magic 3, the sixth consecutive and final Nas/Hit-Boy team-up.