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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.Nas also parted ways with manager MC Serch, enlisted Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second LP, It Was Written, consciously working towards a crossover-oriented sound.His debut album Illmatic (1994) received universal acclaim from both critics and the Hip-Hop community and is frequently ranked as the greatest Hip Hop album of all time.Nas's follow-up It Was Written debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, stayed on top for 4 consecutive weeks, went Double Platinum in 2 months, and made Nas internationally known.In 1994, Nas's debut album, Illmatic, was finally released. It also featured production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, LES and DJ Premier, as well as guest appearances from Nas's friend AZ and his father Olu Dara.The album spawned several singles, including "The World Is Yours", "It Ain't Hard to Tell", and "One Love".It Was Written featured the debut of The Firm, a supergroup consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega.
In 2013, Nas was ranked 4th on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list.
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.
His matrilineal DNA haplogroup is of African origin, found among the Yoruba As a young child, Nas and his family relocated to the Queensbridge Houses in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.
Nas initially went by the nickname "Kid Wave" before adopting his more commonly known alias of "Nasty Nas".
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.