- Acclaimed debut album, Illmatic (1994), spawned several hit singles and established him as a rising hip-hop star.
- Made his big-screen debut opposite rapper DMX in the 1998 crime drama Belly.
- Scored his biggest commercial hits with the back-to-back double-platinum albums It Was Written (1996) and I Am... (1999).
- Collaborated with his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, on "Bridging the Gap," from Nas' 2004 double album, Streets Disciple.
- Vied with Jay-Z for the East Coast rap crown following the 1997 death of rapper Notorious B.I.G.; the pair finally settled their feud in 2005, and went on to collaborate in the studio.
- Named No. 5 on MTV's list of the 10 Greatest MCs of All Time in 2006.