How Nas Became Hip-Hop’s Top Venture Capitalist [WAAMN Chapter 2.6]

Hailed as a generational lyricist since his 1990s debut, the Queens emcee took a quarter century to hit his entrepreneurial stride. Now he’s finally cashing in.

This is the weekly installment of my new book, We Are All Musicians Now. To make sure you don’t miss future serializations, click here. Below you’ll find Chapter 2: The Genius of Ownership (Part 6). Enjoy!


“The beat started in Africa, went to Puerto Rico, went through the Caribbean,” begins Nas, addressing the hundreds gathered to celebrate the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s Bronx groundbreaking. “They tried to take the drum hundreds of years ago, because that was a form of communication. Guess what? The drum that they were trying to stop, this turned out to be one piece of the science we bring to this planet, this thing today.”

The crowd already knows what he’s talking about: hip-hop.

And like other the legends in attendance, from modern-day superstar LL Cool J to pioneering wordsmith MC Sha-Rock, Nas has been a student of the genre in addition to a practitioner. That means learning not only on the musical side, but the economic, specifically in regard to the value of ownership.

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