New York native Nas, who released his debut album Illmatic back in 1994, consistently finds himself in many "Top 10 rappers of all time" lists. But this year, as a result of some smart investing, the 45-year-old wordsmith found himself in a completely different Top 10 list.
For the first time in his legendary career, Nas found himself on the list of Forbes' Hip Hop Cash Kings list, which reports the hip-hop acts who have made the most money over the past year. Nas, who turned 45 this past Friday, earned $35 million over the past year, which was good enough to put him in a tie with Dr. Dre for the No. 6 spot on the list. The rapper's appearance on the list shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those who have been paying attention to some of his business moves though.
Back in 2016, we ran a story that outlined Nas' venture capital tech investment firm, Queensbridge Venture Partners. In a 2016 interview with Fast Company, the "Made You Look" rapper revealed that he had been interested in investing since he was a young boy. At the time, we reported that QVP was investing anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 in a company, and were pitched by roughly 100 companies per month.
Fast forward to today, and Nas is raking in millions from his investments; most notably Ring, a smart doorbell company that was purchased by Amazon for $1.1 billion earlier this year. Queensbridge Venture Partners invested $4.5 million in a Series A investment round back in July 2014. Amazon also purchased PillPack for $1 billion, an online pharmacy company that QVP invested in back in 2014.
Don't expect this trend to stop anytime soon. Nas' venture capital firm has invested in a variety of different companies, including Lyft, Coinbase, Genius, and Mass Appeal, and will undoubtedly continue their search for the next big thing.
"[Hip-hop artists] are always advancing technology—from one turntable to two turntables and a fader," said Nas to Forbes. "There wasn't a time when [rappers] didn't think about investing. It just so happens that the world is opening up."