By Hillary Crosley, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes
Before Jay-Z and Nas worked together during Hov’s tenure as Def Jam’s President, the two New York MCs were bitter rivals. Now, with the release of “Decoded,” a book detailing Hov’s lyrics for a select collection of songs, Jay’s revisited the ultimate war of words in interviews and declared that his “Takeover” song was better than Nas’ “Ether.”
“When we look back, and no disrespect to Nas, it’s not even close … the record,” said Jay-Z of Nas’ “Ether” on New York’s Hot 97 radio station. “If we take ‘Ether,’ [‘Takeover’ is] 100 times better … it’s terrible.”
Ehn, RapFix doesn’t take sides.
However, we did dug up some vintage footage, from 2000, on the war of Nas vs. Jay, where the Queens MC reacts to Jay’s mentee, Memphis Bleek, attacking him on the cut, “Mind Right,” from DJ Clue Presents :The Backstage Mixtape LP.
“Your lifestyle’s written, so who you ‘posed to be, play your position,” spits Memph.
To be fair, Bleek’s shots were fired after Nas said “You want to ball til you fall, I can help you with that, you want beef I can let a slug melt in your hat” to Hov on the title track of Esco’s 1999 LP Nastradamus.
MTV News caught up with Nas later that year, about Bleek’s lyrics and Jay’s beef.
“I feel like anyone in New York, who steps up and is supposed to be real, they thinking about me because they know that I inspire them and helped them out,” said Nas. “So when you mention one of my albums, that’s something that really affected your life, that album, I feel good about it, three … four years later. I feel good that people are still making money and they still thinking ’bout me because they know I’m a force to be reckoned with.”
But the Illmatic author’s praises end with caution.
“This is the rule though, you’re never supposed to let your enemy know what you’re thinking and they did just the opposite,” said Nas. “Now I know what they thinking about.”
What do you think of Jay-Z’s “Decoded”? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!