Shifting from the New York boom bap style that made him famous, Nas began pivoting his career toward a more mainstream sound and enlisted hit West Coast producer Dr. Dre and production group Trackmasters to provide the backdrop for a collaborative album. Nas formed "The Firm" with rappers Foxy Brown, right, AZ and Nature and released the self-titled debut album in 1997, which reached No. 1 on the U.S. hip-hop and R&B charts.
Karen Tapia / Los Angeles Times; Michael Levine / Associated Press
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