Happy 39th Birthday To The Don, Nas

By Carter Maness

Queens native Nas, long considered one of the greatest rappers to ever touch a microphone, is turning 39-years-old today. He'll cap a resurgent year with a special New Year's Eve show at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, but with a no. 1 album, headlining spot at the Rock The Bells festival and a peaceful resolution of his oft-scrutinized divorce with Kelis, the past year has been quite kind to the Nasty MC.

Surely, the core of Nas' success this year is the successful throwback ethos of his full-length Life is Good album. Containing a focused New York flavor and embracing why his fan base loves him, the MC got wordy, detailing the painful lessons of divorce, exploring his relationship to his daughter and really just showing that he can rap better than just about anyone when inspired. The album, which sold 149,000 copies in its first week, topped the Billboard 200 chart and was considered a major critical success.

On the live front, Nas also headlined this year's Rock The Bells festival, basking in the success of Life is Good and recreating many beloved singles from his classic albums like Illmatic and It Was Written.

His resurgence in the public eye and popularity in the sports world also led to some amazing partying opportunities. After winning the gold medal in London's 2012 Summer Olympics, the Nasty one got to pop champagne with the dominant men's basketball team, whose star players like Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony have certainly embraced his records as inspiration.

So yes, for Nas it was a great year where he cast aside ghosts from his past (see that "Bye Baby" video and Kelis' now-infamous wedding dress to know what I mean) and embraced his legendary status, looking to a new future.