#3 – Nas vs Jay Z
Rappers Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) and Nas (Nasir Jones) had a long running rivalry that became one of the most watched in hip hop history. The beef started when Jay Z invited Nas to feature on his track ‘Bring It On’. Nas failed to show up and also rejected attempts made to sign him to Jay-Z’s label Roc-A-Fella Records, with Nas instead opting to sign with Dr Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment.
The fallout continued via the pairs’ different associations with New York rapper The Notorious B.I.G. Jay Z had gone to school with Biggie while Nas launched a self created rivalry with him.
After Biggies murder, Jay Z and Nas were set to compete to replace him as the king of New York hip hop scene, creating yet further tension. Most of the punches in this battle were thrown in dedicated diss songs that each rapper included on their albums to attack the other. The most famous examples of which were released in 2001. Nas released Ether and a few days later Jay Z responded with Supa Ugly. The tracks are considered two of the best diss songs ever made. Nas used Ether to claim that Jay Z was gay and had exploited the Notorious B.I.G’s legacy by copying his lyrics. Jay Z claimed on Supa Ugly that he and basketball player Allen Iverson had both slept with Nas’s girlfriend Carmen Bradly, while they were still together.
The rivalry ended in 2002, and by 2005 Jay Z and Nas had made up enough to to appear on stage together.