Hip-Hop legends Nas and Jay-Z shook up the hip-hop world in 2001 when they went head to head in one of the greatest battles and moments the culture has experienced since its inception.
While the storied Nas/Jigga beef is fifteen years past, ‘Which one’s better — Either or Takeover’ will remain one of the most debated topics in the hip-hop discourse.
When the dust settled, Jay-Z went on to sign his former foe to Def Jam during his tenure as the label’s president and two rap immortals would appear on at least four songs together.
Everything seemed cool between the two, and then Shawn Carter put on his tilted Civil Rights leader hat and dropped one of 2017’s most talked about albums, 4:44. He even became a dad for the second and third time.
2017 was without a reasonable doubt a good year for Mr Knowles-Carter. But was Jigga, maybe perhaps, trolling one of his favourite rappers —Nas all throughout? Let us explain:
Nas samples Fu-gee-La, Jigga samples Fu-gee-La
Last year, Nas got us all excited with the single Nas Album Done taken off DJ KHALED!’s Major Key album. The song’s beat heavily samples the classic Fugees track, Fu-Gee-La:
Cut to 2017 and Jigga drops 4:44 which featured the track Moonlight. While some took exception to Jigga’s lamentations on the current state of hip-hop, Moonlight featured the same Fugees sample that Nas rapped on Fu-Gee-La.
Nas makes album with No ID, Jay-Z makes album with No ID
Nas Album Done had fans salivating because it had been three years (a decade by today’s standards) since the QB King released an album. The last time Nas had put out music was in 2012 with Life Is Good. The full-length effort saw a 40-year-old, post-Kelis Nas getting his grown man on and touching on topics such as divorce and raising an adult daughter as a single father.
Production on LIG was handled by usual Nas collaborator Salaam Remi, among others, but the better songs on the album — especially cuts like Daughters, Stay and Back When — were helmed by Kanye West mentor No ID who also happened to produce all of Jay’s 4:44.
We admit, this is a bit of a reach, but our claims make more sense when you realise that…
Nas walks the streets of Kingston with Damian Marley…
In the hip-hop world, especially the mainstream, a Damian Marley feature is nothing new. Gong-Zilla has made songs with everyone from an old and sickly Rolling Stone guy to Gwen Stefani. He gets it. Jr. Gong made a whole album with Nasir Bin Olu Dara back in 2009 when the latter was going through some real shit.
The music they made resulted in the joint album Distant Relatives, which had gems. But that’s what Damian Marley does — he makes gems. That’s why one, of three gems, off Jay-Z’s 4:44 features Damian
Bam, one of the stand out songs from 4:44 which happens to have an identical bounce to Prokid’s Uthini Ngo Pro, has a visual accompaniment that makes things interesting. Jay made a whole mini doccie about him going to Jamrock and connecting with the people and culture there. The visuals for Bam show Jay and Damian walking through the streets of Kingston surrounded by the ‘community’.
That scene is exactly like most Nas and Damian Marley’s Nah Mean:
Again, we may be reaching, it may be a hunting season because…
Nas gives his son a royal name, Jay-Z gives his son a royal name
Damian Marley comes from global black royalty. Bob Nesta Marley is the perfect black artist. Every musician has been inspired by him. He sat in a government yard in Trenchtown and on the throne of heartfelt music and black culture.
Nas and jay Z have made claims to the throne of hip-hop. Even 50 Cent, on his first album threw stones at both these guys with the line “If David could go against Goliath with a stone, I could go Nas and Jigga both, for the throne…”. We won’t get into where that line went…
Instead, we’ll look at how anxious and jittery Nas was on Distant Relatives and how he breathed a sigh of relief when his son was born.
“Feel like a knight from England, that’s why I named my son Knight, he was born to be one….” Nas rapped on the No ID-produced Stay.
But then Beyonce gave birth. To twins. Jay-Z’s twins. The internet broke. The baby boy and girl were named Sir and Rumi, respectively. Jigga named his first son Sir — like a knight from England — and Nas’ first son was named Knight — like a knight from England.
Of course, we’re reaching again. But, all this pseudo-evidence combined, can we look at how Jay-Z is the biggest Nas fan and how Nas, is the biggest fan of Jay-Z? Can we look at how both are like the elements that summon Captain Planet, who is summoned by Gaia who we’ll call hip-hop for now….