Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (pronounced /n???s??r/; born September 14, 1973), who performs under the mononym Nas (/?n??z/), formerly Nasty Nas, is an American rapper and actor. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, he was born and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. Although he dropped out of middle school, he managed to attain a high degree of literacy which is prominent in his lyrics. His debut album Illmatic, was released in 1994 on Columbia Records. Illmatic was critically acclaimed and would go on to be widely hailed a classic. Nas was part of hip-hop supergroup The Firm, which released one album.