New York rap lyricist Pharoahe Monch has weighed in on the popular topic of rap battles and explained why hip-hop fans should think hard before labeling the Jay-Z/Nas‘ 2001 fiasco as the most epic of them all.
From Monch’s perspective, Jay and Nas’ publicized beef reached its pinnacle thanks to prior battles at the hands of rappers like Ice Cube, Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J.
“There’s been a couple [big rap wars]. You look at Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Iraqi War – they’ve all been monumental in the world’s history, so it’s hard for me to just jump to Nas and Jay-Z, without talking about Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee, without talking about Canibus and L [LL Cool J], Common and [Ice] Cube. I think they set the tone, as well as the crew battles set the tone, for what this is now and that’s what made the Jay-Z-Nas joint really epic. With two respected artists, it was just incredible.” (XXL Mag)
In 2001, Jay struck first at Nas with “Takeover”, featured on his platinum-selling Blueprint LP.
“Use your – BRAAAAAAAIN! You said you been in this ten I’ve been in it five – smarten up Nas /Four albums in ten years n*gga? I can divide /That’s one every let’s say two, two of them sh*ts was doo/One was – Ehh, the other was Illmatic/That’s a one hot album every ten year average/And that’s so – LAAAAAAAME! N*gga switch up your flow/Your sh*t is garbage- what, you tryna kick knowledge? (f*ck outta here)” (“The Takeover”)
Nas retorted with his 2001 Stillmatic record, “Ether”.
“When these streets keep calling, heard it when I was sleep/ That this Gay-Z and C*ck-A-FellaRecords wanted beef…KRS already made an album called Blueprint / First Biggie’s your man, then you got the nerve to say that you’re better than Big/ D*ck-suckin’ lips, why don’t you let the late great veteran live…Queens n*ggas run you n*ggas, ask Russell Simmons.” (“Ether”)
Last fall, Jay-Z shared his opinion on the debate over whether his “Takeover” was better than Nas’ response.
When asked if it’s true that Jay-Z holds grudges for things, like who preferred “Ether” over “Takeover.” Hov says, “Think of it as a computer, it has music and then you have other. That’s my life. things that I love and resonate with me, I remember. Things that I don’t really care about, that’s ‘other.’ And I could care less.” (Miss Info TV)
Check out some recent Jay-Z footage below: