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Tristan Walker, chief executive of Walker & Company, at his company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

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For nearly four years, hip-hop fans have been waiting for Nas to release his long-gestating 12th studio album. Over the summer the Queens-born rapper offered more than a hint that it was ready to go when he appeared as the featured rapper on a track from DJ Khaled’s latest album, “Nas Album Done.”

In the song, Nas takes a swipe at Donald J. Trump, calling “Celebrity Apprentice” a “devil show,” before making a push for black people to support black-owned businesses. To bring the point home, the rapper name-checks a new electric trimmer designed to help black men and others with coarse hair avoid razor burn or ingrown hairs.

Nas is an investor in Walker & Company Brands, which makes the trimmer, called Bevel, and he mentions it roughly halfway through the song, rapping, “My signature fade with the Bevel blade.”

Walker & Company, a consumer products firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded by the tech entrepreneur Tristan Walker, 32.

Like Nas, Mr. Walker grew up in Queens, where he listened to rap (including Nas’s essential “Illmatic”) and dreamed of a life beyond the projects. His father was killed when he was 3, and his mother raised him and his brother. From an early age, Mr. Walker said, he knew he wanted to do something big.

The company was started about three years ago and now has 30 employees. To support its growth, Mr. Walker said he raised $33 million from investors like John Legend, Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors and the former Apple executive Ron Johnson.

Asked how he persuaded Nas to get on board as an investor, Mr. Walker said, “I pitched him, and in two minutes he got it.”

Mr. Walker had been building toward an opportunity like this since he was a child. At 14, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Hotchkiss School, an elite boarding school in Lakeville, Conn. “I knew right away I could compete at the high level,” he said. He completed college at Stony Brook University in three years and graduated as valedictorian.

“I had one goal: to get as wealthy as possible as quickly as possible,” he said.

Mr. Walker took a Wall Street job. He hated it. He decided entrepreneurship was a better route, so he applied to the M.B.A. program at Stanford University.

While a business student at Stanford, he interned at what was then a small company called Twitter and sent a cold email to the two founders of Foursquare, which resulted in his serving as the company’s director of business development.

Between his time at Foursquare and Walker & Company, he was “entrepreneur in residence” at Andreessen Horowitz, the Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm. He met Nas through Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of that firm, which has also invested in Mr. Walker’s business.

In July, Mr. Walker streamed through the office Sonos system the new Nas track with the Bevel line.

“Our customers and potential customers have been saying: ‘Damn, Tristan. That’s the best line in the song,’” Mr. Walker said. “But I actually think the best line is immediately before, where he says we need to dig in our pockets to support black business. Nas’s principled view of the world is what we want to be about.”

Charlamagne Tha God, who has been playing the new track in his role as the co-host of the syndicated radio show “Breakfast Club,” agreed. “Rappers have traditionally put products in songs, and it’s been products that don’t put anything back into our community,” Charlamagne said.

For nearly four years, hip-hop fans have been waiting for Nas to release his long-gestating 12th studio album. Over the summer the Queens-born rapper offered more than a hint that it was ready to go when he appeared as the featured rapper on a track from DJ Khaled’s latest album, “Nas Album Done.”

In the song, Nas takes a swipe at Donald J. Trump, calling “Celebrity Apprentice” a “devil show,” before making a push for black people to support black-owned businesses. To bring the point home, the rapper name-checks a new electric trimmer designed to help black men and others with coarse hair avoid razor burn or ingrown hairs.

Nas is an investor in Walker & Company Brands, which makes the trimmer, called Bevel, and he mentions it roughly halfway through the song, rapping, “My signature fade with the Bevel blade.”

Walker & Company, a consumer products firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded by the tech entrepreneur Tristan Walker, 32.

Like Nas, Mr. Walker grew up in Queens, where he listened to rap (including Nas’s essential “Illmatic”) and dreamed of a life beyond the projects. His father was killed when he was 3, and his mother raised him and his brother. From an early age, Mr. Walker said, he knew he wanted to do something big.

The company was started about three years ago and now has 30 employees. To support its growth, Mr. Walker said he raised $33 million from investorslike John Legend, Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors and the former Apple executive Ron Johnson.

Asked how he persuaded Nas to get on board as an investor, Mr. Walker said, “I pitched him, and in two minutes he got it.”

Photo

Walker & Company’s Bevel hair trimmer. CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

Mr. Walker had been building toward an opportunity like this since he was a child. At 14, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Hotchkiss School, an elite boarding school in Lakeville, Conn. “I knew right away I could compete at the high level,” he said. He completed college at Stony Brook University in three years and graduated as valedictorian.

“I had one goal: to get as wealthy as possible as quickly as possible,” he said.

Mr. Walker took a Wall Street job. He hated it. He decided entrepreneurship was a better route, so he applied to the M.B.A. program at Stanford University.

While a business student at Stanford, he interned at what was then a small company called Twitter and sent a cold email to the two founders of Foursquare, which resulted in his serving as the company’s director of business development.

Between his time at Foursquare and Walker & Company, he was “entrepreneur in residence” at Andreessen Horowitz, the Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm. He met Nas through Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of that firm, which has also invested in Mr. Walker’s business.

In July, Mr. Walker streamed through the office Sonos system the new Nas track with the Bevel line.

“Our customers and potential customers have been saying: ‘Damn, Tristan. That’s the best line in the song,’” Mr. Walker said. “But I actually think the best line is immediately before, where he says we need to dig in our pockets to support black business. Nas’s principled view of the world is what we want to be about.”

Charlamagne Tha God, who has been playing the new track in his role as the co-host of the syndicated radio show “Breakfast Club,” agreed. “Rappers have traditionally put products in songs, and it’s been products that don’t put anything back into our community,” Charlamagne said.
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