Nas, born Count Nasir Jones, has established himself as one of the best rappers in the world but aside from music, he is also one of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs.
The musician-turned-entrepreneur has been engaged in a number of business moves, following in the footsteps of Jay-Z, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
One of the major business moves of Nas is the founding of investment firm QueensBridge Venture Partners. The Los Angeles-based firm has reportedly invested in more than 40 start-ups across a range of sectors like financial technology, health care, and music production. Some of the startups that have caught the attention of the rapper-turned-entrepreneur are Lyft, Dropbox, Coinbase, Tradesy, and LANDR, a start-up that uses big data and artificial intelligence to produce music. In 2019, Nas participated in a funding round in LANDR through a partnership with Warner Music Group and the Plus Eight Equity Fund. The move expanded his personal holdings in LANDR.
Nas is also an investor in the cigar industry. According to Cigar Journal, he joined the industry as a brand co-owner of Escobar Cigars in 2021. He revealed that he initially turned down the offer when Escobar Cigars approached him, adding that the partnership had been two years in the making.
“When the team at Escobar Cigars initially approached me, I was immediately drawn to the brand by the exceptional quality of their product,” said Nas, who recently invested in mattresses. “This partnership with Escobar has been almost two years in the making and I am honored to be an equity partner with them. I am looking forward to growing this brand and to giving back to the local communities in Nicaragua where our tobacco is grown, aged, and hand-rolled into a premium cigar.”
The rapper is also a co-owner of Mass Appeal. The brand was literally out of production when Nas invested a six-figure sum into it to become a co-owner. Mass Appeal eventually became a quarterly-published magazine with ancillary businesses in digital video production, digital marketing, and licensing, according to Ebony.
One of Nas’ earliest businesses was Ill Will Records, a company he established with then-manager Steve Stoute. The label released his own platinum-selling album, Nastradamus. The label also released albums from his group Bravehearts and Queens rapper Nature, in addition to several of his own albums.
Sweet Chick is another business Nas came to have a stake in. He acquired the stake through a partnership with restaurateur John Seymour to expand the Sweet Chick brand specializing in chicken & waffles. According to Ebony, since Nas’ entry, the chain more than doubled its locations and expanded from New York to Los Angeles.
In 2014, the rapper’s QueensBridge also invested in smart doorbell company Ring. When Ring sold to Amazon for $1.1 billion in 2018, Nas made at least $25 million from the transaction, Forbes reported.