With an illustrious career spanning nearly 30 years since his star-turning introduction on Main Source’s Live at the Barbecue in 1991 and the subsequent debut of his seminal opus Illmatic in 1994, hip-hop’s griot Nas—born Nasir Jones—continues to hit new milestones both on and off the mic. In the last year alone, the legendary lyricist won his first Grammy for best “Best Rap Album” with his twelfth studio album King’s Disease (2020) and garnered his 10th #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for his latest release King’s Disease II this past August. He also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his classic sophomore album—It Was Written—which was recently released as an expanded digital edition.
Outside of music, the Queens native has recently carved a niche for himself as a successful entrepreneur—founding the venture capital firm QueensBridge Venture Partners (QBVP)— and has quietly evolved into a savvy investor. Named after the housing project development he was raised in, the firm invests in more than 40 start-ups across a range of sectors like technology, health care and music production. Some of the companies in its diverse portfolio include Lyft, Dropbox, Coinbase and PillPack. His role in QBVP has placed Jones in an elite group of the tech world’s most influential celebrity investors as he continues to expand his empire in that area.
For Our October cover story, the legendary rapper gets candid with acclaimed journalist Miles Marshall Lewis, with who he has a longstanding history dating back to their first interview for the cover of hip hop magazine XXL over 22 years ago. Bringing it full circle, the two discuss Nas’ incredible journey over the past two decades as well as how he is building generational wealth through his business empire, his artistic legacy, and remaining steady in the ever-changing arena of hip-hop.
Photographed by one of today’s most prolific young lensmen Joshua Kissi, EBONY’s October cover was shot in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan at a townhouse across the street from Jimi Hendrix’s famed Electric Lady Studios—the oldest working and thriving recording studio in the New York City. Nas was styled by visionary creative and veteran stylist Lauren Preston with Nigerian-American designer Walé Oyéjidé of Ikiré Jones creating the custom overcoat that the legend wears in the cover photo. The Philly-based talent, whose designs were showcased in Black Panther and Coming 2 America, has become widely known for producing pieces that reimagine classical European artworks with African protagonists. For his shoot, Nas also wore a selection of fall ready-to-wear designs from top global labels including Dries Van Noten, Fear of God, Paul Smith, and Ermenegildo Zegna. The digital cover features the instrumental from King’s Disease II’s Rare, co-produced by Hit-Boy.
Our October digital cover experience also includes an exclusive interview with Oyéjidé. The Philly-based talent was one of the featured designers in Black Panther and created Nas’ custom cover look. Nas’ daughter, @iamdestinyjones shares her entrepreneurship journey as the founder of cult beauty brand @maticcosmetics . Walé Oyéjidé of Ikiré Jones—who designed Nas’ custom cover look—shares how he uses fashion to amplify marginalized communities and what it was like seeing his looks on screen in Black Panther and Coming to America II. We take a look at the evolution of Queensbridge Venture Partners—Nas’ investment company built around tech startups and digital currency, and EBONY CEO Michele Ghee and Nas talk life lessons and generational wealth in an exclusive-one-on-one.