Jay-Z vs. Nas feud: Wikis

  
  
  

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The Jay-Z vs. Nas feud was a hip-hop rivalry during the early-2000s. One of the most high-profile feuds in the history of hip-hop music, it was characterized by comments (both on- and off-record), figuratively as well as literally, between Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Nasir "Nas" Jones from 2001 until resolved in 2005. The conflict received public attention owing to the critically and commercially successful nature of both artists, and is one of the most contested feuds in hip hop popular culture, especially after the aftermath of the East Coast and West Coast Hip-Hop rivalry of the 1990s.[1][2]

Contents

Origins

East vs. West Aftermath: 1996-1997

Initially, Jay-Z was a fan of Nas, an artist who had dropped his landmark debut Illmatic in 1994. In 1996, while recording his debut album Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z's producer Ski used a vocal sample from Nas' "The World Is Yours" as the chorus to his song "Dead Presidents" and invited the rapper to the studio to record. Jay-Z and his business partners, Damon Dash and Biggs Burke, wanted to sign Nas' then-group The Firm to their label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and intended to put the rapper and his groupmate AZ on the song "Bring it On." The rappers never showed up to record their verses, creating the beginning stages of animosity between the two camps[3]; in addition, payment and credit for the Nas sample became an issue between the two artists later in the feud. The Firm ended up signing to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, releasing their eponymous album in 1997.

Both Nas and Jay-Z were connected through their respective relationships with The Notorious B.I.G., a rapper from Brooklyn, New York who went to high school with Jay[4]. When both began to make their reputations in the music industry, they collaborated on songs for each others' 1996-'97 albums[5]. Nas had a self-professed rivalry with the Notorious B.I.G.: on his second album, Life After Death, Biggie took issue with a Nas freestyle, firing back on the song "Kick in the Door," which was itself intended for several other rappers as well[6]. Both Nas and artists from B.I.G.'s camp say it was a friendly competition; in the 2002 song "Last Real Nigga Alive," Nas addresses his entire relationship with Biggie, as well as his early encounters with Jay-Z[7].

When The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered on March 9, 1997, New York's hip-hop scene began to look for an artist to fill the void[8]; attention fell on Nas, one of New York's top-selling hip-hop artists, and Jay-Z, who was beginning to build a career buzz of his own. Aligning himself with Bad Boy Entertainment CEO and Biggie mentor Puff Daddy, Jay-Z recorded his second album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, under Puffy's supervision, consciously stepping up to fill the role left by Biggie. Nas' 1996 sophomore album, It Was Written, had been commercially and critically well-received, and the artist was under more pressure to succeed than ever. In response, Nas became more introverted, spending time at home and ignoring implications by his then-manager Steve Stoute that Jay-Z wanted his title as the so-called "King of New York."[7]

Prodigy Enters the Feud: 1999-2000

Jay-Z and Nas avoided competition through 1998 and much of 1999; while recording his third album, Nas became more isolated, caring for his ailing mother[7]. In August of 1999, Roc-A-Fella artist Memphis Bleek made an inference to Nas in his song "Mind Right," with a line mentioning the title of Nas' second album, It Was Written. At the time, Nas was on good terms with Queensbridge, New York-based duo Mobb Deep, having appeared on each others' respective projects in 1995-'96. Prodigy, one half of the group, took issue with lyrics and imagery in the video to Jay-Z's 1997 single "Where I'm From":

So when I heard that, I was like, “Who is Jay talking about who is talking about hanging in Marcy in they line?” Then I thought about “Trife Life” in my verse I said “jetted through Marcy ‘cause D’s[detectives] ain’t baggin’ me” because I was out there...Then “Shook Ones” came out, then Jay came with the plastic cups, football jerseys in the projects, taking jabs at us and I was like Nas, what we need to do is go at these niggas because number one, his lil’ man is trying to shit on you; talking about your life is written and all this shit.

According to Prodigy, Nas continued to ignore prospects of beef, electing not to lash back outright. Prodigy began taking shots at Jay-Z, berating him in The Source for lyrics in some of his songs[9]. Things escalated, including tensions arising from Roc-A-Fella and a rapper friend of Prodigy's, E-Money Bags[9].

First Round of Disses: Summer Jam 2001

Jay-Z made the first public overtures toward conflict at Hot 97's Summer Jam hip hop festival in 2001, reciting the opening verse to the first single for his album The Blueprint, "Takeover", a diss to Nas and Mobb Deep, which ended with the line, "Ask Nas, he don't want it with Hov. No!"[10]

Nas responded with an attack on Jay-Z during a radio freestyle over Eric B. & Rakim's Paid In Full beat, dissing most of the R.O.C. members subliminally — specifically, Jay-Z, Freeway, Memphis Bleek, and Beanie Sigel. Initially, the freestyle was untitled but was later called "Stillmatic" (it is also called "H To The Omo" as a direct reference to Jay-Z's song "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)")[11]. Nas also put out the song "Destroy & Rebuild," dissing a slew of one-time allies, including Mobb Deep[9].

Second Round of Disses & Fallout: 2001-2002

Following "Destroy & Rebuild," Nas' relationship with Mobb Deep soured. While Nas cited past slights and ego issues on the part of Prodigy[12], the Mobb Deep rapper feels Nas was dissing him to get him out of the way and make the conflict a direct Nas/Jay-Z issue[9]. A short time after, Nas put out the single "Ether," fully addressing the feud; the track mocked Jay-Z's early years as an aspiring young rapper and accused him of being a misogynist, as well as exploiting The Notorious B.I.G.'s legacy by supposedly stealing his lyrics. Both of these songs were singles for his 2001 album, Stillmatic, which also included inferred Jay-Z disses on the single "Got Ur Self a Gun." Days after Stillmatic's release, Jay-Z put out "SuperUgly," a freestyle over "Got Ur Self a Gun" and Dr. Dre's song "Bad Intentions." The song contained claims that Jay-Z and basketball player Allen Iverson had both slept with Carmen, the mother of Nas' daughter Destiny, while they were still together[13].

After the release of "Ether," Prodigy bowed out of the feud in awe of the track[9]. Despite "Ether" beating out "Takeover" in a Hot97-sponsored radio phone-in poll[14] , Jay-Z and Nas continued to feud, as Jay dissed Nas on "Blueprint 2," the title track to his 2002 followup album, The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse. After 2002, though, both artists essentially discontinued the feud; Roc-A-Fella Records was embroiled in lyrical battles with Ruff Ryders, mainly Jadakiss and his group the L.O.X.[15].

Aftermath

Fan Response: 2003-2005

For two years after the de facto end of the rivalry, fans speculated consistently on the outcome of the battle while Nas concentrated on recording, his relationship with singer Kelis, and his record label under Columbia Records, Ill Will. Jay-Z, meanwhile, began campaigning for his impending retirement, labeling 2003's The Black Album his last project and making headlines for accepting a position as President of Def Jam Records. Neither side directly addressed the conflict until October of 2005, when Jay put on a comeback concert called "I Declare War". The rapper invited a slew of guests to perform, including Roc-A-Fella artists and past associates such as Puffy and the L.O.X.; toward the end of the concert, Jay invited his 'surprise guest,' Nas, onstage to pose for photos and perform a blended version of Jay-Z's "Dead Presidents" and Nas' "The World is Yours"[16][17].

Reconciliation: 2006-Present

Jay-Z and Nas pictured after the feud.

The feud was put to a formal end in 2006, when Nas signed with Def Jam, of which Jay-Z was still President at the time. Nas and Jay-Z toured, recorded and appeared on television and radio together throughout 2006; the artists collaborated on Nas' Def Jam debut, Hip Hop is Dead, on the song "Black Republican"; Nas returned the favor by appearing on Jay-Z's 2007 album, American Gangster on the song "Success." They also collaborated on "I Do it For Hip-Hop," a song from Def Jam artist Ludacris' album Theater of the Mind. Nas was later scheduled to appear as a guest on Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 album, on the single "Empire State Of Mind", but due to the recording of his new album with Damian Marley and divorce proceedings with his wife Kelis, he never recorded a verse.

List of relevant records

  • Jay-Z - "The City is Mine-Nov.1997"
  • Memphis Bleek - "What You Think Of That-Feb.1999"
  • Nas - "We Will Survive-Apr.1999"
  • Memphis Bleek - "My Mind Right-Aug.1999"
  • Nas - "Nastradamus-Nov.1999"
  • Nas - "Come Get Me-Nov.1999"
  • Jay-Z & Memphis Bleek - "Is That Your Bitch?-Dec.2000/Jan.2001"
  • Nas - "Da Bridge 2001-Dec.2000"
  • Mobb Deep - "Talkin Reckless-June.2001"
  • Jay-Z - "Takeover-July.2001"
  • Nas - "Stillmatic Freestyle (H To The Omo)-Aug.2001"
  • Jay-Z - "The Takeover (New verse)-Sep.2001"
  • Nas - "Ether-Oct.2001"
  • Memphis Bleek - "The Crew-Oct.2001"
  • Jay-Z - "People Talking (Nas Diss)-Nov.2001"
  • Nas - "You're Da Man-Dec.2001"
  • Jay-Z - "Supa Ugly-Dec.2001"
  • Beanie Sigel - "Hot 97 Freestyle (Jadakiss & Nas Diss)-Dec.2001"
  • Jay-Z - "Don't You Know- Dec.2001/Jan.2002"
  • Jay-Z Feat. (Cam'ron,Juelz Santana & Freeway) - "Hot 97 Summer Jam Freestyle 2002 June.2002"
  • Nas - "U Wanna Be Me-Oct.2002"
  • Dipset/Roc-A-Fella - "Tell A True Story (Nas & Nashawn Diss)-Oct.2002"
  • Jay-Z - "Blueprint 2-Nov.2002"
  • Nas - "Last Real Nigga Alive-Dec.2002"
  • Cam'ron - "Show You How (Freestyle)-Jan.2003"
  • Jay-Z - "H.O.V.A (Super Hero Music) (Nas Diss)-Jan.2003"
  • Bravehearts - "Quick To Back Down" (feat. Nas & Lil Jon)-2003

References








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