The album proved to be Nas’s most commercially successful release, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. It also heralded Nas’s mainstream popularity and followed the success of other mafioso rap albums such as Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and Reasonable Doubt. However, his stylistic changes and increased mainstream success fostered accusations of selling out within the hip hop community. It has been viewed by music writers as one of Nas' best works and remains Nas' best-selling release, with over 4 million copies in the United States alone.
The album debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 232,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Nastradamus received generally mixed reviews from most music critics, and it has been regarded as Nas's weakest effort. Despite its mixed reception, it achieved considerable commercial success and spawned two charting singles. On December 22, 1999, the album was certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Stillmatic served as a commercial and critical success that helped re-establish Nas' career, following a period of critical disappointment with the releases of I Am… and Nastradamus. It debuted at number 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with sales of 342,600, eventually peaking at number 5 and selling over 2,026,000 copies in the United States. Upon its release, Stillmatic received generally positive reviews from most music critics.
Released with little promotion, the album debuted at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 70,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, The Lost Tapes received universal acclaim from music critics, who praised its songs, production, and Nas' lyricism. Although some critics viewed that it lacks a cohesiveness as an album, others called it Nas' best album since his 1994 debut album Illmatic. As of July 2008, The Lost Tapes has sold 340,000 copies in the United States.
The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 355,880 copies in its first week. His fourth U.S. number-one album, it had sold 764,000 copies by November 2008, eventually over time it went platinum. Upon its release, Hip Hop Is Dead received generally positive reviews from most music critics. Hip Hop Is Dead was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, ultimately losing to Kanye West's Graduation at the 50th Grammy Awards
Nas uses the "N" word as a mere jumping-off point for his self-titled album, its initial title and final content even more closely related than the title and content of Hip Hop Is Dead. It's his most purposeful album; nearly every verse goes beyond talking trash and recalling exploits to address the change of title, the "N" word, race relations, stereotypes, the long arms and legs of Fox, love for his people and country, and the United States from slave ships through the possibility of a black president. It carries a stern lyrical focus all the way through, including the radio-aimed/Polow-produced anthem "Hero" ("If Nas can't say it, think about these talented kids with new ideas being told what they can and can't spit"), the gleaming "Make the World Go Round" (where a proud Nas, clearly reaching out to a younger crowd, refers to the featured Chris Brown as "the young Mike Jackson"), and the appropriately greasy "Fried Chicken" (a cunning track in which Nas and Busta Rhymes seem to embrace and parody dietary and sexual stereotypes at once). There is as much content here to absorb, to think about, discuss, and debate, as there is within Ice Cube's Death Certificate or anything by Public Enemy or BDP. While it is not a feast from a production standpoint -- the album is not bound to silence those who contend that Nas is not the best selector of beats -- it doesn't have the hastily slapped-together flow of Street's Disciple or Hip Hop Is Dead. A couple tracks might sonically resemble inferior versions of years-old tracks that helped make Nas a hip-hop deity and, nearly ten years after Nas was first accused of selling out, he might still sound a little awkward over radio-friendly productions. But the MC has never made an album as engrossing or as necessary as this one. [A clean version of the album was also released.]
The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 57,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Distant Relatives received positive reviews from most music critics.
The cover features lyrics from his hit single "If I Ruled the World" which appears on the compilation.
The album's recording took place from June 2012 until late 2013. Schoolboy Q enlisted collaborators such as Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, ASAP Rocky, Jay Rock, Tyler, The Creator and Kurupt, among others. The album's production was handled by high-profile record producers such as Boi-1da, The Alchemist, Mike Will Made It, Clams Casino, Nez and Rio, DJ Dahi and Pharrell, as well as others, including members of Top Dawg Entertainment's in-house production teams Digi+Phonics and THC.
It was met with generally positive reviews from music critics, with praise going towards its haunting, gangsta mood and Schoolboy Q's aggressive rhymes. Oxymoron was also a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 selling 139,000 copies in its first week of release.