Nas, the Queens Rapper Is Making Serious Moves
There are some rappers that have faced a “longevity” problem at a later point in their career, but Nas isn’t one of them. For those who might not be aware, Nas put out his first album, Ilmatic, in 1994, and it is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. These days, he’s more focused on investing than music – and he’s already established quite the track record.
It’s well-known that Nas once had a classic feud with Jay-Z, which has since been reconciled. Nas attempted to launch a music label called The Jones Experience, but the only major success from that label came was his own 2008 album, Untitled. These days, Nas enjoys a stake in Mass Appeal Records, which is associated with high-profile acts like Dave East, DJ Shadow, Mannie Fresh, and more.
An Angel Investor
Nas has invested in over 100 companies as a founder of Queensbridge Venture Partners – named after the borough that he’s from. One of the reasons Nas was able to make this transition is thanks to his manager/partner, Anthony Saleh. He points out that the firm invests anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 in the companies it’s interested in, even though it hears over a hundred pitches a month.
However, the firm is quite selective about the companies it chooses. Nas makes it clear that it’s not just about the company or the potential profit involved: he wants to invest in people that he believes can do great things. He told CNBC that he “bets on people that inspire me and make me think or see things differently.” He also makes sure to get to know the management team at a company before investing, as well.
Making Millions Outside Of Music
It’s probably a great thing that Queensbridge Venture Partners is so selective – it certainly seems to understand what companies are worth betting on. The firm invested in Lyft, which is valued at over $20 billion.
As if that wasn’t enough, the ridesharing startup actually appears to be growing faster than its main competition, Uber – one of the most well-known startups in the world. Queensbridge Venture Partners also invested in Dropbox, which boasts millions of subscribers and recently beat market estimates. The firm also ventured into the blockchain/crypto sector, investing in fintech companies such as Coinbase and Robinhood.
If there is one move that has solidified Nas as an angel investor, however, it is undoubtedly the fact that Queensbridge Venture Partners invested in Ring, a company that creates and sells video doorbells. In fact, the firm was reportedly one of the first Ring investors.
This paid off massively when Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world, acquired Ring. Off this one move alone, Nas reportedly pocketed somewhere in the realm of $40 million.
Nas hasn’t just limited himself to a couple investments, despite the fact that he is extremely selective. He does seem to have a penchant for picking companies that are acquired fairly quickly, which has meant more non-music money in his pockets.
Pillpack marketed itself as a streamlined drug delivery company, and Nas saw the potential back in 2014. In 2018, just four years later – Amazon ended up purchasing the company for $1 billion. This marks the second time that Nas was involved with a company that Amazon ended up spending for (on a billion-dollar level, mind you).
Nas enjoys his privacy, but he certainly has been “venturing out” with respect to investing in companies that scale quickly and efficiently. He seems to understand that his business successes cause many to look at him in a new light. He says: “I was the music guy for years, and then all of a sudden it’s like I hit an age…I guess it was just the age, or just wisdom.” The rapper/entrepreneur turned 46 last year.