EBONY, the iconic brand serving as the leading voice of the Black American experience for 75 years, today unveiled its October 2021 cover, with a comprehensive Legacy-themed editorial package featuring Hip-Hop icon and entrepreneur Nas gracing the cover. The special edition highlights the artist-turned-mogul’s numerous business pursuits and explores how he defines his legacy.
With an illustrious career spanning nearly 30 years since his star-turning introduction on Main Source’s Live at the Barbecue in 1991 and the subsequent debut of his seminal opus Illmatic in 1994, hip-hop’s griot Nas – born Nasir Jones – continues to hit new milestones both on and off the mic. In the last year alone, the legendary lyricist won his first GRAMMY for best “Best Rap Album” with his twelfth studio album King’s Disease (2020) and garnered his 10th #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for his latest release King’s Disease II this past August. He also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his classic sophomore album – It Was Written – which was recently released as an expanded digital edition.
Outside of music, the Queens native has recently carved a niche for himself as a successful entrepreneur – founding the venture capital firm QueensBridge Venture Partners (QBVP) – and has quietly evolved into a savvy investor. Named after the housing project development he was raised in, the firm invests in a diverse array of start-ups across a range of sectors like technology, health care and music production. Some of the companies in its diverse portfolio include Lyft, Dropbox, Coinbase and PillPack. His role in QBVP has placed Jones in an elite group of the tech world’s most influential celebrity investors as he continues to expand his empire in that area.
For the cover story, the legendary rapper gets candid with acclaimed journalist Miles Marshall Lewis, with who he has a longstanding history dating back to their first interview for the cover of hip hop magazine XXL over 22 years ago. Bringing it full circle, the two discuss Nas’ incredible journey over the past two decades as well as how he is building generational wealth through his business empire, his artistic legacy, and remaining steady in the ever-changing arena of hip-hop.
Photographed by one of today’s most prolific young lensmen Joshua Kissi, EBONY’s October cover was shot in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan at a townhouse across the street from Jimi Hendrix’s famed Electric Lady Studios—the oldest working and thriving recording studio in New York City. Nas was styled by visionary creative and veteran stylist Lauren Preston with
Nigerian-American designer Walé Oyéjidé of Ikiré Jones creating the custom overcoat that the legend wears in the cover photo. The Philly-based talent, whose designs were showcased in Black Panther and Coming 2 America, has become widely known for producing pieces that reimagine classical European artworks with African protagonists. For his shoot, Nas also wore a selection of fall ready-to-wear designs from top global labels including Dries Van Noten, Fear of God, Paul Smith, and Ermenegildo Zegna. The digital cover features the instrumental from King’s Disease II’s Rare, co-produced by Hit-Boy.
“With this month focusing on the concept of legacy, there are few artists that have built musical legacies quite like hip hop’s poet, Nas. As one of the most respected people in music today and considered to be one of the greatest MCs of all time, Nas has definitely earned his spot on Hip Hop’s Mount Rushmore. But he is quickly expanding his legacy to include more than just music and has also been quietly establishing himself as a formidable businessman,” said Marielle Bobo, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President of Programming, EBONY. “We wanted to do something different with this cover in exploring ‘Nas the Mogul’ through the lens of legacy and its different iterations.”