What may be the most famous beef in hip-hop history stems from a series of incidents in the 1990s, following the release of Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt and Nas’, It Was Written. In 2001, the feud reached its climax when Mr. Carter took aim at Nas in his diss track, “Takeover,” which led to him firing back with “Ether.”
After years of back and forth jabs over the years, both rappers publicly ended their feud in 2005, during the I Declare War Tour in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where Nas joined Jay on stage and the both of them shook hands. Fast forward to today, Nas reflected on the feud during a recent appearance on Rick Rubin’s Broken Records podcast, revealing he was “honored” to have been a part of such a legendary moment in music history.
“The art of emceeing was right there on full display,” he said on the podcast. “It was like, if you’re in the rap game, this could happen, a battle. It was like, ‘This rap thing is real. A battle could really happen.’ So I was honored to have that part of my life happen because that’s how I saw the greats do it coming up. I saw some of the greats do it.”
Rick Rubin responded by saying he believes the back-and-forth took both rappers to new heights while elevating the entire game, which drove Nas to speak on the subject further.
“Again, it’s about the art of emceeing,” he continued. “And when you’re trying to make the best stuff you can make, and you bump heads with another MC, and then you guys have a war or whatever, that’s what this art form was since the beginning; since Double Trouble and Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee. But that’s what I like about hip-hop compared to other genres is that, they go at it in hip-hop. You know, like, really at it. Not to say that other rockers didn’t go at it, other reggae artists didn’t go at it, other crooner didn’t go at it, but Hip-hop will always be around because of how competitive it is.”