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".In 2012, The Source ranked him #2 on their list of the "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time".In 2013, Nas was ranked 4th on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list.Shaheem Reid of MTV News called Illmatic "the first classic LP" of 1994.Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date.Nas is often named as one of the greatest hip-hop artists.
Columbia Records began to press Nas to work towards more commercial topics, such as that of The Notorious B. G., who had become successful by releasing street singles that still retained radio-friendly appeal.When they were not in the recording studio, Nas would go into the booth and record his own material. In 1991, Nas performed on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque".In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records during the same year.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.From 2001-2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z. In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa.