Influential rap artist whose 1994 debut album, Illmatic, is frequently ranked as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. MTV listed him as the fifth Greatest MC of All Time.
He was born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones and he began rapping as a teen under the stage name Kid Wave.
His second album, It Was Written, debuted at number one on the Billboard Charts and stayed there for four consecutive weeks.
He had a highly publicized rap feud with Jay Z that began in 2001.