2001 was a phenomenal year to say the least. It had its good(Me graduating from High School), It had its bad( George Bush being President) and it definitely had its ugly(9-11-01). But one thing that remained consistent throughout that year of 2001 was the good hip hop that came out that year. The reason being is that the competitive nature that made Hip Hop what it is was brought back into the forefront and all of the participants battling were really bringing it. We’ve had JayZ vs Mobb Deep, Cormega Vs Nas, Jadakiss Vs JayZ, D-Block vs Rocafella, Snoop Dogg Vs Suge Knight, and most importantly: JayZ Vs Nas:
While all of those vendettas I’ve mentioned above were in the midst of an explosion, It was Nas Vs JayZ that really caught the fans and media attention because its been rumored for years that these two have been taking shots at each other subliminally but nothing really surfaced. It wasn’t until Prodigy from Mobb Deep whom felt that Jay disrespected the East Coast on Money, Cash, Hoes when Jay said (New York been soft ever since Snoop came through and crushed the buildings) is where he figured he take manners in his own hands.
Prodigy began taking subliminal shots at Jay on his H.N.I.C. album. It wasnt until the track Mobb Niggas that Prodigy planted the seeds of war where he stated :We aint the Roc/We aint them faggot ass niggas:
Jay ignored the jabs sent but insisted on waiting until Summer Jam to strike a attack on Prodigy and humilate him. Already trying to fight off rumors of being robbed in his own projects. Prodigy was having a hard time maintaining his toughguy image and Jay found the opening that he needed to exploite Prodigys lack of gangster.
Jay taunted P’s height(I got money stacks bigger than you), Claimed that he was a fraud(Then you dropped Shooked Ones, switched your demeanor) and to pour further salt in the wound, He further destroyed him with the infamous line(When I was pushing weight back in 88/You were a ballerina, I got the picture I seen ya) and showed a younger Prodigy in a ballet outfit:
Then to further throw more fuel into the fire, Jay then threw a shot at Nas basically labeling him as a coward:
“Ask Nas He dont Want it with Hov” NOOOOOOOO!
Hoping that it wouldn’t go this far, The pressure was definitely on Nas to respond. He’ve already said in the July 2001 issue of the Source Magazine(With Suge Knight on the cover) that he didn’t want no problems with Jay or Rocafella and that he wanted to fall back and make music. It was a battle that he didn’t want to take but with his career and credibility at stake, He had no other option or otherwise he would be looked of as a coward.
People including myself underestimated Nas’s battling skills and he really showcased to be a contender on the Stillmatic Freestyle. He came out swinging for the fences like Derek Jeter:
Nas been quiet to beef for years(publicly) and took shots from everybody from the Roc ,Cormega, Nature, and many of his Queensbridge friends that looked to him as a snake or a disloyal guy. Nas showed his venomous nature as he took the disrespect to the next level by calling Jay a homosexual rapper version of Sisqo and even took a shot at former best friend Cormega by labeling him “Cornmega” after Mega was disrespecting him on The Realness. Nas wasn’t about to go down without a fight
Knowing the ball was on Jay’s court and say what you want about him, He’s a marketing genius. Not only did he release his Blueprint album on a date where it was memorable(09-11) but he also put out a classic album which took Jay’s career to the next level and in the process re-recording the Takeover which featured a whole diss dedicated to Nas:
Even though Prodigy was already cooked from Summerjam, Jay really aimed for Nas’s chest on this one. He took the blows to the next level by mocking his failed Clothing line(Willie Esco Jeans) How Nas fell off from the radar as a top emcee(Went from Nasty Nas to Esco trash) claimed that he dropped a hot album every 10 years and even took things on a more personal level by claiming that he had an affair with Nas’s baby mother Carmen:
Everybody around that time period thought Nas was done. The Blueprint went on to become the #1 selling album in the Country thus having the streets, radio, MTV, BET, and clubs on locked. JayZ’s ego was also becoming bigger as he would go as far as to renamed himself Jay-Hova, Hov, and built the brand for himself as the emcee that never take losses with the slogan: I..Will Not Lose. The Blueprint at the time was a major smash and many including myself thought Nas’s career was history. Things were on top of the world and they showed it:
Things were looking right for Rocafella. Their arrogance were becoming more potent(mainly from Dame Dash). Jay was looking more godlike every progressing day to the average hip hop fans so Nas stayed in the lab like a scientist working on his invention. It wasnt until Nas finally released his album that his response and he dropped diss track titled Ether which was a total Hiroshima BOMB on the whole Rocafella staff:
In one of the most impactful disses in hip hop, Nas went on a verbal tear into Jay’s street cred, accuses him of selling his soul for riches, copying Biggie, being outshined by Eminem on his own song, brown-nosing other artists for fame, his looks and how he was an obsessed fan of his style. And just like that, This resurged Nas’s staggering career and REALLY put the pressure on JayZ to come with something heavy or else it was done. Nas smacked the KONY crown off Jay’s head and put it on for size:
Jay has never been under this type of pressure before and he’s never been in a position where he looked weaker so if he was to come with something, It would have to surpass the Takeover. Jay made the mistake of taking Nas for granted so in a pressure situation, He responded with the record titled Supa Ugly where he takes the disrespect to the point where it’s just being ruthless. Jay using Nas’s own beat on some Jackin for beats tip clowns Nas for his chipped tooth, his pink suit in Street Dreams, his false drug dealer image(Nigga never sold aspirin, how he Escobar) and spits the vivid details about sleeping with his baby mother(Skeeted in your jeep, left condoms in the babyseat)
The response while disrespectful didn’t suit too well with many and wasnt as impactful as Nas’s Ether so Nas ended up getting the win and that was the end of the battle. The two went on to take shots at each other for years until eventually burying the hatchet and doing business with each other for a brief moment. Whenever you a Nas or Jay fan, This was a magical time for hip hop.