Two Dope Brothers Present: Jay-Z and Nas: The Takeover vs. Ether — Hip-Hop Battles at their finest
March 12, 2010
Since we know know that Erik is very sensitive about his role in the blogosphere, I guess that I will rep a new moniker on the music that we (Ronin and I, with Ronin providing the inspiration on reaching back in the day) listen to and will share when E finds it inconvenient to bless your day with music.
Since E feels that we are invading his territory, it seemed best to start today with a battle of a different sort, the lyrical battle between Nas and Jay-Z. Wikipedia breaks down what happened with Jay Z and The Takeover. Flip the switch for what is behind the battles and the two videos, The Takeover and Ether
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.
Jay-Z has a history of straight jacking people’s things, which I will get into tomorrow. This is one of the reasons that Jay can’t be considered the best, because of plagiarism
Nas took the challenge and delivered the seminal treatise on how to slay a Giant in the field. Ether was literally ether. Nas put the rag over Jay’s face and told him to breathe deep.
“Ether” is a diss song to fellow New York rapper Jay-Z, who had surpassed Nas in commercial success since 1998 and had dismissed him as a has-been on the diss track “Takeover.” Nas responds to Jay’s claims by rapping, “I got this, locked since Nine-One (1991), I am the truest/ Name a rapper that I ain’t influenced.” The song contains numerous gay-based slurs directed at Jay-Z: “When these streets keep calling, heard it when I was sleep/ That this Gay-Z and Cock-A-Fella Records wanted beef”, and after informing him that “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/ Dick-suckin’ lips, why don’t you let the late great veteran live”, “You a dick-ridin’ faggot, you love the attention/ Queens niggas run you niggas, ask Russell Simmons” and “Put it together/ I rock hos; y’all rock fellas.”
Nas also attacks Jay-Z’s street cred, claiming, “In ’88, you was gettin’ chased to your buildin’/ Callin’ my crib, and I ain’t even give you my numbers/ All I did was give you a style for you to run with.” He also accuses Jay of selling out, “Y’all niggas deal with emotions like bitches/ What’s sad is I love you cause you’re my brother, you traded your soul for riches.” He had lines regarding Jay’s unattractive appearance and accuses him of misogyny, rapping, “You seem to be only concerned with dissin’ women/ Were you abused as a child, scared to smile, they called you ugly?” and “Foxy kept you hot, kept your face in her puss/ What you think you gettin’ girls now because of your looks?”, “started cocking up my weapon slowly loading up this ammo to explode it on a Camel and his soldiers”. He also accuses Jay of brown-nosing other rappers for fame: “Your ass went from Jaz to hangin’ with Kane, to Irv to Big/ And, Eminem murdered you on your own shit.” Not only does he criticize the usage of other rappers’ influence for increased fame, he mentions that Eminem outshined him on his song, “Renegade”. Finally, Nas insults Jay-Z’s biting of Big’s lyrics, “How much of Biggie’s rhymes gonna come out your fat lips?”. The intro of Ether starts with gunshots from Notorious B.I.G.’s Who Shot Ya? then there’s a Screwed voice of the late 2Pac saying “Fuck Jay-Z” which is taken from the 2pac song “Fuck Friendz”. In the outro of Ether, Nas mocks the chorus of Takeover, which Jay-Z raps “R-O-C, we runnin’ this rap shit”, Nas changes it to “R-O-C, get gunned up and clapped quick” and so on. A sample of “Ether” was also used in Xzibit‘s song “My Name” featuring Eminem and Nate Dogg.
In the line “Rocafella died of AIDS, that was the end of his chapter / And that’s the guy y’all chose to name your company after?”, Nas is referring to a Brooklyn hustler Rocafella. Reference to this same man is also made on a song by Jay-Z’s former mentor, Jaz-O, called “Love is Gone”.
Jay, you got knocked the fuck out!