Monday, October 19, 2009


No.5 - Jay-Z vs. 50 Cent
It was only a matter of time before 50 Cent made a run at Hova's New York crown. Although this rivalry had very little lyrical jousting, Jay-Z did retaliate to 50 Cent's angsty "How To Rob," in which 50 rapped: “What Jigga just sold? Like four milli? Got something to live fo’/ Don’t want a n*gga puttin’ four through that Bentley coupe do’.”The two titans met backstage at a concert in New York, and after giving 50 Cent props for "How To Rob," Jay-Z took the stage with this: “Go against Jigga, yo’ ass is dense / I’m about a dollar, what the f*ck is 50 Cents?”Short, sweet and downright nasty. The two have maintained a friendly rivalry ever since, with 50 Cent most recently boasting that his planned album, Before I Self-Destruct, would sell more on September 11th than Jay-Z's The Blueprint III. 50 Cent's album has since been delayed, but the mere hype surrounding Jay-Z's latest truly makes 50 Cent look like nothing more than chump change.

No.4 - Jay-Z vs. Autotune
Here is a sampling from Jay-Z's anti-autotune anthem "D.O.A (Death of Autotune),” attacking rappers and singers who rely too heavily on the trendy vocal tool. T-Pain, he's talking to you:"I know we facing a recession / But the music y’all making gonna make it the Great Depression / All y’all lack aggression / Pull your skirt back down, grow a set man / N*gga this shit violent / This is death of autotune, moment of silence."Although T-Pain -- aka The Godfather of Autotune -- was initially miffed with Jay-Z's apparent attack, he has since accepted the song after Jay-Z publicly stated that the song was not in fact about T-Pain. Thank God.

No.3 - Jay-Z vs. Oasis
After the notoriously loudmouthed Noel Gallagher openly criticized Jay-Z's selection as the headliner for Glastonbury 2008 ("I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong."), the rapper chose to open his now-legendary set with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Oasis' iconic song, "Wonderwall."Then, as if that weren't enough, Jay-Z surprised everybody by walking onstage during the Madison Square Garden leg of Kanye West's Glow In The Dark Tour and busted out the vitriolic first lines of his song "Jockin' Jay-Z":"That bloke from Oasis said I couldn't play guitar / Well, someone should have told him I'm a f*cking rock star / Today is gonna be the day that I'm gonna throw it back to you."Realizing that his ass had been handed to him, Mr. Gallagher backtracked from his original statement, and Jay-Z (ever the gracious victor) has said that he'd be open to collaborating with Oasis in the future -- only if Chris Martin suddenly drops dead, of course.

No.2 - Jay-Z vs. Mobb Deep
After Jay-Z took offense to several discreet lines from this Queens duo's album Murda Muzik, the crafty rapper took matters into his own hands. At the Hot 97 Summer Jam show in 2001, Jay-Z performed the song "Takeover" while images of Mobb Deep's Prodigy as a child, dressed as Michael Jackson in a leotard, were projected onto a big screen. As if that cred-smashing tactic wasn't bad enough, Jay-Z's punishing lyrics only added fuel to the fire:"I don't care if you Mobb Deep, I hold triggers to crewsYou little f*ck, I've got money stacks bigger than youWhen I was pushin’ weight, back in ’88you was a ballerina -- I got your pictures, I seen yaThen you dropped "Shook Ones," switched your demeanorWell -- we don't believe you, you need more peopleRoc-A-Fella, students of the game, we passed the classesNobody can read you dudes like we doDon't let 'em gas you like Jigga is ass and won't clap youTrust me on this one -- I'll detach youMind from spirit, body from soulThey'll have to hold a mass, put your body in a holeNo, you're not on my level get your brakes tweakedI sold what ya whole album sold in my first weekYou guys don't want it with Hov'Ask Nas, he don't want it with Hov', nooooo!"In what can surely be viewed as a sign of surrender, Mobb Deep decided to squash their beef with Jay-Z and in an interview with MTV, Prodigy had this to say about their reconciliation: "Me and Jay-Z had a sit-down over it. We ironed out our little differences… It's all business, it's all good."

No.1 - Jay-Z vs. Nas
Not only was this the biggest beef of Jay-Z's career, but it was one of the biggest beefs in the history of hip-hop. After The Notorious B.I.G. died, New York's rap throne was suddenly vacant, and the native sons (and former friends) of Queens and Brooklyn respectively were left to battle for the position. On the song "Takeover" on his 2001 album The Blueprint, Jay-Z rapped:"Use your - BRAAAAAAAIN! You said you been in this 10I've been in it five -- smarten up NasFour albums in 10 years n*gga? I can divideThat's one every let's say two, two of them sh*ts was dueOne was -- Ehh, the other was IllmaticThat's a one hot album every 10 year averageAnd that's so -- LAAAAAAAME! N*gga switch up your flowYour shit is garbage -- what, you tryna kick knowledge (f*ck outa here)"Many consider Nas the actual victor of the feud after the release of his song "Ether," which is viewed by most as one of the best diss tracks ever. In 2005, the two rivals appeared on stage together at Jay-Z's I Declare War concert, and have since gone on to collaborate on numerous tracks, putting to rest any notion of a lingering feud. But take a look at today's current hip-hop landscape, and it's clear that although Nas may have won the battle, Jay-Z won the war.