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"Takeover"
Song by Jay-Z

from the album The Blueprint

Released September 11, 2001
Recorded 2001
Genre Hip hop
Length 5:13
Label Roc-A-Fella/Island Def Jam
Writer Jay-Z
Producer Kanye West
The Blueprint track listing
The Ruler's Back
(1)
"Takeover"
(2)
Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
(3)

"Takeover" is a track recorded by Jay-Z for his 2001 album The Blueprint. The song is a diss track aimed at rappers Nas and Prodigy of Mobb Deep.

Background

This song was the first official LP diss track to publicize directly the hip hop rivalry between Nas and Jay-Z (although there exist several other rap records prior to this featuring disses from both Nas and Jay-Z towards each other). It samples the song "Five to One" by The Doors. The first line in this song is taken from Jay-Z's verse in "Celebration" off of the Streets Is Watching OST.

References to other rappers

In the second verse, Jay-Z alleges that Prodigy (member of Mobb Deep) took ballet classes as a child and mocks Prodigy's small stature. Jay-Z further dismisses Mobb Deeps as competition in the hip hop industry by pointing out that his career had more commercial success than they ever would, and dissing Mobb Deep's famous song Shook Ones Pt. II. Mobb Deep replied to Jay-Z in a subsequent LP diss track, but their rivalry has more or less been overshadowed by the rivalry between Nas and Jay-Z.

In the third verse (which has 32 bars, while the other verses have 16), Jay-Z ridicules Nas's discography (at the time consisting of four albums) and claims Nas has "one hot album every ten year average." Jay-Z referred to a widespread feeling from many hip hop critics and purists that Nas's subsequent albums after his legendary Illmatic debut were mediocre follow ups, and dissing Nas' famous song and from that album "The World Is Yours": Jay-Z sampled some of Nas' lines for the chorus of Jay-Z's famous song "Dead Presidents II", and claimed in "Takeover" that he sampled it because Nas was using it wrong ("So yeah I sampled your voice, you was usin it wrong/ You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song"). Jay-Z also questions Nas's street credibility and claims Nas has lied or exaggerated about his past in songs, with the lines, "Nigga, you ain't live it you witnessed from your folks' pad/Scribbled in your notepad and created your life/I showed you your first tec, on tour with Large Professor (Me! That's who!)/Then I heard your album 'bout your tec on your dresser." Jay-Z also ridicules Nas's style, flow, and career decisions, with lyrics like, "Nigga switch up your flow, your shit is garbage/But you try and kick knowledge? (Get the fuck outta here)" and "Fell from top ten to not mentioned at all/To your bodyguard's Oochie Wally verse better than yours/Matter fact you had the worst flow in the whole fuckin' song..." which "Oochie Wally" is a song by The Bravehearts from the collaborative album QB's Finest, and samples the song in this song when Jay-Z mentions it.

The song initiated one of the biggest and most hyped hip hop rivalries within the industry, and the song was generally well-received by fans. At the time, the song's hard-hitting caliber was such that Jay-Z and many hip hop fans had felt that this song could have potentially ended Nas's career. On the contrary, however, the track merely served to reinvigorate Nas' career as he responded to "Takeover" with a diss track of his own, entitled "Ether".

Jay-Z responded to "Ether" with a freestyle entitled "Supa Ugly". Jay-Z and Nas would release other subsequent diss tracks and records referencing the feud, including "Blueprint 2" (from Jay-Z's The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse) and "Last Real Nigga Alive" (from Nas's God's Son.)

"Takeover" was produced by Kanye West and samples The Doors' "Five to One" as well as KRS-ONE's "Sound of da Police." 50 Cent swards Mobb Deep in his own diss song "Piggy Bank", by telling his rival Jadakiss "Jada don't fuck with me if you wanna eat, 'cause I'll do your lil' ass like Jay did Mobb Deep." Coincidentally, 50 signed Mobb Deep to his G-Unit Records imprint a mere few months later.

On Mos Def's 2004 album The New Danger, the track "The Rape Over" is essentially a revision of "Takeover", with a similar Kanye West backing track using the same Doors sample. Mos Def's rewritten lyrics criticize the hip-hop industry in general and attribute hip-hop's direction at the time to "old white men", "corporate forces", and substance abuse.

Chicago pop-rock band Fall Out Boy referenced this song in their 2007 album Infinity on High with the song "The Take Over, the Breaks Over", as a direct mention to the rivalry.

References








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