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.
He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. His musical career began in 1991, as a featured artist on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque".Steve Huey of All Music described Nas's lyrics on Illmatic as "highly literate" and his raps "superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary", adding that Nas is "able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times".Reviewing Nas's second album It Was Written, Leo Stanley of allmusic believed the rhymes to be not as complex as those in Illmatic but still "not only flow, but manage to tell coherent stories as well".Halfway through the production of the album, Cormega was fired from the group by Steve Stoute, who had unsuccessfully attempted to force Cormega to sign a deal with his management company.Cormega subsequently became one of Nas's most vocal opponents and released a number of underground hip hop singles "dissing" Nas, Stoute, and Nature, who replaced Cormega as the fourth member of the Firm.From 2001 to 2005, Nas was involved in a highly publicized feud with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track "Ether". In 2010, he released Distant Relatives, a collaboration album with Damian Marley, donating all royalties to charities active in Africa.His 11th studio album, Life Is Good (2012) was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.his rhyming skills attracted a significant amount of attention within the hip-hop community.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 also expanded on Nas's Escobar persona, who lived a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle.On the other hand, references to Scarface protagonist Tony Montana notwithstanding, Illmatic was more about his early life growing up in the projects. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label, the Firm began working on their debut album.