Nas Shifts from Studio Sessions to Cigar Lounges

Nas is the owner of “Aroma Cigars Etc. Lounge” in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hailing
originally from Brooklyn, New York, Nas became the successful entrepreneur he is today after
spending years maneuvering within the music industry. Nas came from a life of poverty, and
growing up he knew that one day he would have to leave the community he was raised in. Nas
decided to migrate down south, and in doing so he ventured with a group of hip hop artists who
were also from Brooklyn.

Nas entered the music industry in the early 2000s, doing primarily marketing and
promotions. People truly appreciated Nas’s ear for music, and he takes credit for jumpstarting the
careers of various artists he came into contact with. Nas started by promoting and finding as
many opportunities for the rap group he journeyed from Brooklyn to Atlanta, Georgia with by
introducing them to the Charlotte radio market. Eventually, Nas started working with a
representative from Def Jam, and the rap group who was signed to Jay-Z already began receiving
a bigger buzz and began receiving radio play in the Charlotte area. This was when Jay-Z took
notice of the group, and soon after Nas was officially hired to start working directly for Def Jam
working with James “JB” Brown.

Nas explains that he has always enjoyed cannabis, but his experiences working at Def
Jam motivated him to decrease his marijuana consumption. Deciding he wanted a more
professional appeal, he switched to cigars. From Nas’s perspective, marijuana inhibited his
ability to most effectively communicate with high-ranking officials in the music industry. Nas no
longer wanted to be impaired during business meetings and studio sessions, but he decided not to
quit smoking completely. Instead, Nas decided to only smoke cigars. Cigars seemed like more of
a mature alternative to smoking cannabis, and Nas wouldn’t have to worry about his
attentiveness with work being hindered anymore.

Most people share a common belief that a cigar business can only be operated one way;
therefore, Nas has chosen the unorthodox route and is bringing his own flavor to the cigar
culture. Rather than appeal solely to the older, “distinguished” gentlemen who typically smoke
cigars, Nas seeks younger patrons to attend his cigar lounge too. People don’t have to dress up in
a suit and tie to attend Nas’s lounge. Patrons should feel comfortable wearing whatever they
prefer. Nas has placed paintings on the walls throughout his cigar lounge, and the majority of
these paintings revolve around hip hop. Nas explains that these paintings represent his life
journey, and thus the aesthetic of his lounge likely contrasts that of many other cigar lounges one
may attend.

For example, Bey has posted a painting of Jay-Z on one of the walls of his cigar
lounge because Jay-Z is Bey’s favorite artist. Nas mentions that if not for Jay-Z, he likely would
have never found the inspiration to transform his lifestyle and escape poverty. The cigar lounge
owner has a painting of Beyoncé Knowles on the wall as well. Evidently, Nas had an experience
in Kevin Liles office in which Beyoncé co-signed one of the artists that he was promoting. This
was an unforgettable experience for Nas. He also has a painting of Ludacris, which represents
the era in Nas’s life when he had been working with Disturbing Tha Peace.

Although Nas is able to make a handsome amount of money operating his own cigar
lounge, Nas explains that he finds even more enjoyment in introducing one of his favorite
hobbies to the people who never put much thought into cigar smoking. Nas is known for being
an upstanding individual in his community because he treats people the way he would like to be
treated. Nas understands that in order for people to continuously return to your business they
have to feel appreciated.

He has taken the liberty to often offer deals on cigars because his
lounge sells them too (sometimes he’ll implement a buy 5 cigars get 1 free deal), and
occasionally he’ll give free cigars away to patrons who have never been to his lounge. In light of
the Covid-19 impact, some of the regular attendees at Nas’s lounge have decided to donate to his
business without buying a cigar merely because they are strong supporters of Nas as a person.
Soon enough, Nas will be opening more cigar lounges across the country and even overseas in
Africa!

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