Jay-Z Vs. Nas, Who Won?

Often considered the greatest hip-hop beef ever known, there has really never been a clear, concise victor. The beef started with the death of rapper Notorious B.I.G. to see which prominent rapper would fill his shoes as the “King of New York”. Both opponents made a valiant effort, so let’s compare both of their cases and find a definitive winner.

jay-z-nasThe beef officially started in 1996 when Jay-Z’s producer Ski used a vocal sample off Nas’ song “The World is Yours” and made it into the chorus of Jay’s “Dead Presidents”.  Even though this track never made it to the mainstream until 2002 on his Greatest Hits he still used the sample for the song “Dead Presidents II”, which is the same chorus but different verses. Nas was invited by Jay-Z to come re-record his voice for the chorus, agreed, then never showed. Both “Dead Presidents” songs had no lyrics bashing Nas; however it was disrespectful to use the sample without permission.

Nas then assembled the rap group “The Firm” that consisted of AZ, Foxy Brown (who had recently done tracks with Jay-Z) and Nature. Jay-Z wanted to release “The Firm’s” album under his label, Roc-A-Fella Records, but they ended up signing with Aftermath without telling Jay or Damon Dash. Jay-Z then showed respect towards Nas in his 1997 release “Where I’m From” by saying:

“I’m from where niggas pull your car, and argue all day about,
Who’s the best MCs, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas.”

Nas responded that same year in the song “We Will Survive” criticizing many rappers including Jay-Z who claimed the heir to Biggie’s throne. Nas claimed:

“It’ll be the ones you always knew, that want it on,
Tellin’ everybody it was him, that you fronted on.
Thought we walked a million miles it was just twenty,
Not used to walkin’ in the path of legit money.”

“The future for us young shooters and old killers,
Who become rich as dope dealers?”

jayz-and-nasThe public became aware of the two’s beef when Jay-Z mocked Nas’ Queens Bridge allies Mobb Deep on stage at the Hot ’97 Summer Jam music festival by using the song “The Takeover”. Jay-Z directly attacks Prodigy (member of Mobb Deep) in this song and ends with the line:

“Ask Nas, he don’t want it with HOV.”

This is when I’ll start a scoring system to judge the two, now that the feud is evident. I will provide points on a scale of -5 through +5 based on the originality and harshness of the lines. If I feel the line is strong it will be on the + side, if it is weak it will be on the – side and if neutral it will be awarded +0. Jay-Z doesn’t get any points for this one; it’s not a strong enough statement. We’re tied up at 0-0.

Nas draws first blood with his retort to the Hot ’97 appearance by coming out with a radio freestyle later entitled “H to the Omo” which goes after Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella entirely.

“And bring it back up top, remove the fake king of New York,
You show off, I count off when you sample my voice.  (+1)
I rule you, before, you used to rap like the Fu-Shnickens,
Nas designed your Blueprint, who you kidding?  (+1)
Is it H to the Izzo, M to the Izzo?  (-1)
For shizzle you phony, the rapping version of Sisqo.  (+3)
And that’s for certain, you clone me, your wack clothes line,
I’d rather Sean John, bore me with your fake coke rhymes.  (-1)
And those times, they never took place, you liar,
Un was your first court case, you had no priors.  (+1)
You master fabricated stories of streets and sound slick,
Have you surrounded, you and the faggot you down with.”  (+0)


Nas gets +4 for this one. My first minus one is because it’s way too much of a childish line, but that +3 is easily deserved for the quality Sisqo line. His last line is neutral, he’s lucky it’s not a -1.

Jay-Z came back almost immediately and released a 32-line addition to “The Takeover” completely ripping apart Nas.

“I know you missin all the – FAAAAAAAME!
But along with celebrity comes bout seventy shots to your frame Nigga
You a – LAAAAAAAME!  (-1)
Youse the fag model for Karl Kani/Esco ads  (+1)
Went from, Nasty Nas to Esco’s trash
Had a spark when you started but now you’re just garbage   (+1)
Fell from top ten to not mentioned at all
to your bodyguard’s “Oochie Wally” verse better than yours  (+2)
Matter fact you had the worst flow on the whole fuckin song
but I know – the sun don’t shine, then sun don’t shine  (-1)
That’s why your – LAAAAAAAME! – career come to a end
There’s only so long fake thugs can pretend  (+1)
Nigga; you ain’t live it you witnessed it from your folks pad
You scribbled in your notepad and created your life  (+1)
I showed you your first tec on tour with Large Professor
(Me, that’s who!) Then I heard your album bout your tec on the dresser (+0)
So yeah I sampled your voice, you was usin it wrong
You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song (+2)
And you ain’t get a coin nigga you was gettin fucked and
I know who I paid God, Searchlight Publishing (+3)
Use your – BRAAAAAAAIN! You said you been in this ten
I’ve been in it five – smarten up Nas  (+1)
Four albums in ten years nigga? I can divide
That’s one every let’s say two, two of them shits was due  (+1)
One was – NAHHH, the other was “Illmatic”
That’s a one hot album every ten year average  (+2)
And that’s so – LAAAAAAAME! Nigga switch up your flow
Your shit is garbage, but you try and kick knowledge?  (+1)
(Get the fuck outta here) You niggaz gon’ learn to respect the king
Don’t be the next contestant on that Summer Jam screen  (+0)
Because you know who (who) did you know what (what)
with you know who (yeah) but just keep that between me and you for now.”  (+5)


Jay-Z gets a whopping +19 for this one, and I didn’t even include the very last bar where Jay once again berates Nas’ style.  I gave Jay the +5 for the last line for good reason.  It is a reference to Jay-Z sleeping with Nas’ sbaby’s mama, Carmen Bryan. The score is Jay-Z at 19, Nas at 4. Nas, you better make a play.

Nas did make a considerable play by coming out with an entire diss track entitled “Ether”. Let’s look into the lyricism represented in this song.

“How could Nas be garbage?
Semi-autos at your cartilage. (+1)
Burner at the side of your dome,
Come ‘outta my throne.  (+1)
I got this, locked since, ‘9-1,
I am the truest, name a rapper that I ain’t influenced.  (+1)
Gave y’all chapters but now I keep my eyes on the Judas,
With Hawaiian Sophie fame, kept my name in his music.  (+1)

When these streets keep calling, heard it when I was sleep,
That this Gay-Z and Cockafella Records wanted beef  (-1)
Started cocking up my weapon, slowly loading up this ammo,
To explode it on a camel, and his soldiers, I can handle,  (+0)
This for dolo and its manuscript, just sound stupid,
When KRS already made an album called Blueprint  (+2)
First, Biggie’s your man, then you got the nerve to say you better than Big,
Dick sucking lips, why not let the late, great veteran live?  (-1)

My child, I’ve watched you grow up to be famous,
And now I smile like a proud dad, watching his only son that made it,  (+0)
You seem to be only concerned with dissing women
Were you abused as a child, scared to smile, they called you ugly?  (-1)
Well life is hard, hug me, don’t reject me,
Or make records to disrespect me, blatant or indirectly  (+1)
In ’88 you was getting chased through your building,
Calling my crib and I ain’t even give you my numbers
All I did was gave you a style for you to run with,  (+0)
Smiling in my face, glad to break bread with the God.
Wearing Jaz chains, no techs, no cash, no cars  (+1)
No jail bars Jigga, no pies, no case
Just Hawaiian shirts, hanging with little Chase  (+1)
You a fan, a phony, a fake, a pussy, a Stan  (+1)
I still whip your ass, you thirty-six in a karate class  (+0)
You Tae-bo hoe, tryna’ work it out, you tryna’ get brolic?
Ask me if I’m tryna’ kick knowledge  (+1)
Nah, I’m tryna’ kick the shit you need to learn though
That ether, that shit that make your soul burn slow  (+1)
Is he Dame Diddy, Dame Daddy or Dame Dummy?
Oh, I get it, you Biggie and he’s Puffy  (+0)
Rockefeller died of AIDS, that was the end of his chapter,
And that’s the guy y’all chose to name your company after?  (+2)
Put it together, I rock hoes, y’all rock fellas  (+3)
And now you’re tryin’ to take my spot fellas?  (+1)
Philly’s hot rock fellas, put you in a dry spot, fellas
In a pine box with nine shots from my glock, fellas  (+1)
Foxy got you hot cause you kept your face in her puss
What you gettin girls now cause of your looks?  (+1)
Ne-gro please
You no mustache having, with whiskers like a rat
Compared to Beans you wack  (-2)
And your man stabbed Un and made you take the blame
You ass, went from Jaz to hanging with Caine, to Herb, to Big  (+0)
And, Eminem murdered you on your own shit
You a dick-riding faggot, you love the attention  (-1)
Queens niggas run you niggas, ask Russell Simmons  (+1)
Ha, R-O-C get gunned up and clapped quick
J.J. Evans get gunned up and clapped quick  (+1)
Your whole damn record label gunned up and clapped quick
Shawn Carter to Jay-Z, damn you on Jaz dick  (-1)
So little shorty’s getting gunned up and clapped quick
How much of Biggie’s rhymes is gonna come out your fat lips?  (-1)
Wanted to be on every last one of my classics,
You pop shit, apologize, nigga, just ask Kiss.”  (+1)

jay_z_and_nasFor being much longer than Jay-Z’s release of “The Takeover” Nas only gets +15 for this one. I promise the readers I only judged the lyrics line by line as I wrote them so I’m a little freaked out that the score is exactly tied up at this point. Jay-Z at +19 and Nas at +19.

Jay-Z responded to this with his free styled version of Nas’ s “Got Yourself a Gun” . This is where no punches were pulled:

“I got myself a gun,
but really I don’t need the heat
Ya heart pump project Kool-Aid, ya sweet  (-1)
I don’t gotta 2-way you gay?  (-1)
This is not beef, this is rap, homie
I don’t have a scratch on me  (+1)
Ya feel Jay’s soft, ya Jay off  (+0)
Damn, I’m only worth over a hundred million
Look, I got beef with like a hundred children,  (+1)
Niggas with pink suits, tryna get cute
You a lil outta line, homie
Don’t let the nine, homie
Put you out ya mind, homie
Just rhyme, homie  (+1)
Kick ya little lies, I kick my real facts,
Like you sneakin out the back of the source sound lab  (+1)
We wasn’t chasin’, nah, we had a tapin’, too  (+0)
We came through to do our 1-2 thang
It wasn’t a Roc-a-fella come through thang  (-1)
If it was on like that, niggas’ll come through Queens
Wit’ Queens niggas, y’all know how I do   (+0)
Look, I got more shooters than Queens Bridge and you,
Gotta tie you up on the coliseum roof
and open beer bottles off the boys chipped tooth.  (+1)

Listen, I’m the J, the AY to the fuck you Nas
Ya never so ask and now you Escobar  (+1)
Had to buy ya chain back last time you got robbed
The nerve of this coward, he like “Oh my God!”  (-1)
I know rap rumors or innuendos
But yo I bring it to ya live, lift up ya windows  (+1)
Let the public peek in
n’ see ya dirty laundry.  (+0)

Me and the boy A.I. got more in common than
just ballin and rhymin, get it?
I came in yo’ Bentley backseat
Skeeted in the Jeep
Left condoms on yo’ baby’s seat  (+5)
Here the niggaz in the club, love is done
It’s whatever, whenever, however you want  (+1)
And since you infatuated with sayin’ that gay shit,
Guess you was kissin’ my dick when you was kissin’ that bitch  (+3)
Nasty shit, you thought I was taller than you
You callin’ home a hundred times, I was bonin’ her neck  (+1)
You got a baby by the broad you can’t disown her yet  (+2)
When do your lies end?
When does the truth begin?  (+0)
and when does reality set,
Or does it matter?
Gotta hurt that I’m your baby mama’s favorite rapper  (+2)
And ask your current girl, she know what up
Holla at a real nigga, I don’t give a fuck.”  (+1)


Got to hand it to Jay, coming in with a big 21-point swing this late in the game is pretty miraculous.  After Jay-Z’s mother heard this over the radio, she forced Jay-Z to make a public apology to Nas and his family, which he did. The score at this point is Jay-Z +40, Nas +19. Nas, once again, you’re going to need a pretty good retort to keep up.

Nas released “You’re Da Man” on Stillmatic talking about how Jay-Z allegedly idolized him.

“They plan was to knock me out the top of the game
But I over stand they truth is all lame
I hold cannons that shoot balls of flames
Right in they fat mouth then I carve my name  (+2)
Nas – too real, Nas – true king
It’s however you feel, go’head, you swing  (+1)
Your arms too short to box with god
I don’t kill soloists only kill squads  (+3)
Fame went to they head, so now it’s “Fuck Nas”
Yesterday you begged for a deal, today you tough guys  (+0)
I seen it comin, soon as I popped my first bottle
I spotted my enemies tryna’ do what I do  (+1)
Came in with my style, so I fathered you
I kept changin on the world since “…Barbeque”  (-1)
Now you wanna hang with niggas I hung with
Fuck bitches I hit, it’s funny I once said…  (+1)
If I, ever make a record
I take a check and put something away for a rainy day to make my exit  (+1)
But look at me now, ten years deep
Since in the project, crack in my socks weep
I never asked to be top of rap’s elite
Just a ghetto child tryna’ learn the traps of the streets  (+3)

Now wait a sec’, give me time to explain, women and fast cars
And diamond rings can poison a rap star  (+1)
It’s suicidal, how I smoke in so much la’
I saw a dead bird flyin through a broken sky  (+1)
Wish I could flap wings and fly away
To where black kings and Ghana stay
So I could get on my flesh right away  (+0)
But that’ll be the day when it’s peace
When my gat don’t need to spray
When these streets are safe to play.”  (+1)


Nas gains +14 for this one leaving him with +33 overall. This means he still trails Jay by seven points, but he’s still got more fight in him.

Cam’ron then joined Jay’s side in the beef against Nas but his lyrics aren’t relevant to the argument. Jay-Z then came out with the song “Blueprint2” in November of 2002.

“Cause the nigga wear a kufi, it don’t mean that he bright,
Cause you don’t understand him, it don’t mean that he nice  (+1)
It just means you don’t understand all the bullshit that he write
Is it ‘Oochie Wally Wally’ or is it ‘One Mic’?
Is it ‘Black Girl Lost’ or shorty owe you for ice?  (+1)
I’ve been real all my life, they confuse it with conceit
Since I will not lose, they try to help him cheat
But I will not lose, for even in defeat  (+1)
There’s a valuable lesson learned, so it evens it up for me
When the grass is cut, the snakes will show
I gotta thank the little homie Nas for that though
Savin’ me the hassle of speakin’ to half of these assholes
And I’m a let karma catch up to Jaz-O, whoa  (+2)
See I’m back before you had a chance to miss me
My mama can’t save you this time, niggas is history  (+1)
Who you know flow vicious as me?
Yet so religiously, that’s why they call me Hov
I get the spoils cause the victor is me
You’re an actor, you’re not who you’re depicted to be  (+1)
The street dreamin’, all y’all niggas livin’ through me
I gave you life when niggas was forgettin’ you emcee  (+1)
I’m a legend, you should take a picture with me
You should be happy to be in my presence, I should charge you a fee.  (+1)
I’m Big Dog, Glenn Rob, listen, God, you a flea
And the little homie Jungle is a garden to me  (+1)
What’s the problem B? You not as hard as me
Nigga hard as we, nigga, R-O-C  (+0)
That’s why they follow me
They feel my pain and my agony
I won’t rest until you on one knee
You want war then it’s war’s gonna be.”  (+1)

Jay-Z is awarded +11 for that one but it is his last submission into the timeline, so Nas needs to play catch up, and he need to play it soon. The score is Jay-Z at +51 and Nas at +33. He needs an 18-point swing in this next song.

Nas recorded “Last Real Nigga Alive” which is also his last submission into the beef, it better be good.

“Jigga started to flow like us, but hit with ‘Ain’t No Niggas’
Had much Versace swagger.  (+1)

However, I learn, with some niggas it’s all business
But I’m a street dude with morals
To diss niggas with Jigga too much, he used to say Jay wanted my spot
I laughed, stayed home, never hung a lot  (+1)

We had the best times, she asked would I make more songs
I told her not till I see her health get more strong  (+0)
In the middle of that, Jay tried to sneak attack
Assassinate my character, degrade my hood
Cause in order for him to be the Don, Nas had to go
The Gam-B-I-N-O rules I understood  (+2)
What you want, see, I already had
The Gift and The Curse? Fuck that shit, the first shall be last  (+1)
I’m the man’s man, a rapper’s rapper
G-O-D S-O-N, they’ll be none after  (+2)
I was Scarface, Jay was Manolo
It hurt me when I had to kill him and his whole squad for dolo.”  (+5)

Nas gets a +12 for these few bars. The beef then started to die down towards the end of 2002 and officially ended with the “I Declare War” concert where the two united and finally called off the feud.

With it all behind them, let’s calculate the scores.


—————————————————-Drum Roll Please—————————————————-

Jay-Z comes out on top with a grand total of +51 points to Nas’ respectable +45 points. Sorry Nas but I guess you should simply stick to what you know, and that’s Illmatic.

Jay-Z now officially has the crown in the most infamous rapper war to ever be publicized.


  • Dr. Propaganda

    Thank you Joe! A constructive focused opinion finally.

  • king Chuks

    no need for long thing. nas won the beef.

  • JOE

    i think in general this is pretty good… but i think your scoring is a little off on ether…

    I think that you under-rate nas going at jay for taking biggie’s style. I also think you underrate nas going at jay for taking jaz-o’s style.

    Shawn Carter to Jay-Z, damn you on Jaz dick (-1)

    How much of Biggie’s rhymes is gonna come out your fat lips? (-1)

    First, Biggie’s your man, then you got the nerve to say you better than Big,
    Dick sucking lips, why not let the late, great veteran live? (-1)

    And i think these few bars shoulda gotten him more points:

    Compared to Beans you wack (-2)
    And your man stabbed Un and made you take the blame
    You ass, went from Jaz to hanging with Caine, to Herb, to Big (+0)
    And, Eminem murdered you on your own shit

    (fyi… its “to hangin with kane, to irv, to big” … basically saying that jay just switches up who he hangs around with and takes up their styles and whatever)

    and that “eminem murdered you on your own shit” is a classic line… should be at least +3

    but yeah overall i like what you did… i forgot how serious jay gets on that got yourself a gun freestyle. i think overall nas won just because of ether. but they are both two of the greatest ever.

  • Dr. Propaganda

    If no one gives reason as to why Nas won, you don’t even deserve to be dignified a response. I realize it’s really easy to call the author a “dick suckin faggot” but gain some fuckin’ IQ points and formulate a case and you’ll get my respect. I also find it funny that two of the Nas supporters used dick references as insults, I remember what it was like to ejaculate for the first time too.

  • What

    Man fuck you and your points you know nas won you dick suckin faggot
    even Stevie Wonder can see that (+1)

    • http://www.hotlikesauce.com/author/steele/ Steele

      only because of your Stevie Wonder jab do you deserve the (+1)

  • http://www.hotlikesauce.com/author/dr-propaganda/ Dr. Propaganda

    Webstar. Please give reasons as to why that is your opinion. Stating something doesn’t make it true, that’s why I tried to justify my opinions with this article. It’s open to debate but you gotta do more than that.

  • webstar

    Nas won that battle.

    Fair & Square.


    I can’t believe people are still trying to dig up that old argument & give Jay the crown 9 years later after these guys have obviously put it behind them.

  • http://www.hotlikesauce.com/author/steele/ Steele

    …aaaand boom goes the dynamite

  • http://www.hotlikesauce.com/author/dr-propaganda/ Dr. Propaganda

    Hey, I call ’em like I see ’em king, and if you honestly believe Nas won that battle you’re a douch bag. Jay-Z’s mom made him apologize for the severity of his lyrics, and if anything ether was one of Nas’ weaker songs in the battle. Learn to listen for lyrics next time, go fuck yourself, you fuckin’ child.

  • http://www.hotlikesauce.com/author/steele/ Steele

    hey the king, your spelling fails dickhead.

  • the king

    wow hey poster u a jay z cock rida , nas killed him in ether u posted points wrong .. u failt this site fails

  • pljohnson456

    It hurt me when I had to kill him and his whole squad for dolo