Nas is an American and not a Nigerian. The rapper is an African-American man born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents originally from Mississippi. Confusion around Nas’s nationality stems from his father’s decision to adopt the name “Olu Dara” from the Yoruba people in Nigeria. His birth name is Charles Jones III while his popular son’s birth name is Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones.
Nas is not the only son of his parents, however, he is not related to Lil Nas, the rapper who made his debut in 2019 with the smash hit, “Old Town Road.” The pair only share a similar name and have both enjoyed success in music. As earlier mentioned, Nas is from New York. His counterpart on the other hand is from Lithia Springs, Georgia.
Is Nas Really a Nigerian?
The question of whether Nas is really a Nigerian came about as a result of his birth name. The eminent rapper was born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones on 14th September 1974 in New York City, New York, United States. He is the son of Charles Jones III who is professionally known as Olu Dara. Born in Natchez, Mississippi, his father moved to New York City where he began with his music career and also changed his name to a Nigerian Yoruba name – Olu Dara which means God is Good. However, it was reported that Nas’ father was given the name by a Yoruba priest whom he met when he visited Nigeria. The rap artist’s mother, on the other hand, was not a Nigerian as well. She was a native of North Carolina and worked as a Postal Service personnel before succumbing to breast cancer in 2002.
Judging by his place of birth and those of his parents, Nas is really not a Nigerian. His father’s musical personality which is immersed in African American tradition has given rise to the conviction upheld by many that he is of Nigerian ancestry and this is yet to be proved true as neither Olu Dara nor his son, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones has stated having ancestors from Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Nas’ birth name does not only comprise of Nigerian names, but it also comprised of Arabic names; Nasir meaning helper and protector and bin, which means Son of. Though he is not a Nigerian, the famed musician who is also a songwriter, entrepreneur and investor has had a few performances in the country and has performed together with Nigerian artists like Modenine & Elajoe. He was also among the international artists that performed at the 2008 edition of the popular music concert, Star Mega Jam.
Is Nas Related To Lil Nas?
Another topic that has made headlines aside from whether Nas is a Nigerian is his relationship with rapper, Lil Nas. The young music artist, Lil Nas took to the centre stage after becoming a viral hitmaker with the release of his country rap breakout single titled, ‘Old Town Road‘ in December 2018. By early 2019, the song achieved viral popularity on the video-sharing app, Tik Tok and then went on to peak at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 where it remained for nineteen weeks, thereby, becoming the only song to have achieved such feat since 1958.
Although their names bear a resemblance, Nas and Lil Nas are not related in any way as there is no evidence of that anywhere. Lil Nas who was born Montero Lamar Hill has stated that he didn’t choose his stage name to disrespect Nas who is his Idol, rather he adopted the name as a tribute to the legendary rap artist.
Following a backlash for parodying Nas’ name in order to get attention on the music scene, Lil Nas has made it clear that he took up the moniker, Lil Nas during his teenage years when he was building a following as an internet personality. But when he became serious with his music career, he added X to the moniker and he is now professionally recognised as Lil Nas X. Nevertheless, the Atlanta-bred singer has revealed that he may change the name in the future, having been constantly criticised for having Nas in his stage name.