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6 businesses owned by Nas

by Feyisayo Ajayi

Nas, the name that reverberates through the walls of hip-hop history, is not just your favorite rapper’s idol — he’s the deity at whose altar most rappers pay their respects. Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in the heart of Brooklyn, New York City, to a lineage of musical mastery and simple hard work, he came of age amidst the raw tapestry of crime, ambition, and culture. From the early tunes of a toddler’s trumpet to the rhythmic cadence of verses that have since become anthems, Nas evolved from being a product of his environment to becoming the environment itself. It was in Queensbridge housing projects that the soon-to-be rap legend found his calling, inspired by hip-hop giants and pop legends alike. With the 1994 release of “Illmatic,” Nas did not just introduce himself to the world; he set a benchmark for hip-hop, a standard that remains unrivaled.

Yet, while his poetic prowess is legendary, Nas’s business acumen is equally impressive. Beyond the stage, behind the scenes, his QueensBridge Fund stands as a testament to his foresight, having invested in over 150 companies. From being an early believer in Coinbase, which raked in almost $8 billion in 2021, to having a stake in culinary delights like Sweet Chick and tech giants like Ring, acquired by Amazon for a deal sweetening Nas’s coffers by about $40 million, he is a force to be reckoned with in the business world.

It’s not just about hip-hop and investments; it’s about the synergy of rhythm and business. Nas’s influence is felt in online stock trading through Robinhood, in ride-sharing via Lyft, in digital storage through Dropbox, and in various other sectors. 

And now, Billionaires.Africa shines a spotlight on six companies directly owned by Nas, mapping out the empire that contributes to his impressive $70 million net worth. Dive in with us as we explore the business ventures of one of hip-hop’s most illustrious luminaries.

QueensBridge Venture Partners is a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm founded by Nasir “Nas” Jones, his manager Anthony Saleh, Ajay Relan, Dee Murthy, Anand Murthy, and Craig Vaughan. They invest in early-stage technology companies in highly competitive and visible markets.

Nas is a co-owner and equity partner of cigar brand Escobar Cigars. Escobar Premium Cigars is a line inspired by traditional Cuban recipes and techniques that was first launched back in 2018. The company, founded by David Gomes and Michael McNaughton, started as a small operation in Nicaragua and has burgeoned into a worldwide phenomenon.

Mass Appeal was founded in 1996 as a graffiti fanzine. Through a Nas-fronted funding round in 2013, it has grown to encompass a magazine, website, film, television, record label, and creative agency. Mass Appeal owns Mass Appeal Records, which Nas and label head Peter Bittenbender co-founded.

An apparel brand from the mind of hip-hop artist Nas, HSTRY is a culmination of his life experiences, knowledge, and inspiration.

12 AM RUN is a high-end sneaker and streetwear store in Las Vegas that Nas opened In 2014 in partnership with entrepreneur Nick Sakai. 

Nas is a co-owner of LANDR, an automated, drag-and-drop digital audio post-production tool that automates “mastering,” the final stage in audio production.

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