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Jay-Z Battles The G.O.A.T. And The Dog





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You're really playing yourself if you think that Nas and Mobb Deep were the first rap cats to go toe-to-toe with Jay-Z. Back on Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life's "Ride or Die," Jigga spit at Mase with some subliminal raps, and Hov battled even before that. Back in the day, he and Busta Rhymes lyrically sparred in high school, and a little bit later, when Jay was trying to break into the industry, he bumped heads with some of your all-time favorites, like the late Big L and Wu-Tang Clan's GZA.

One person was there riding with Jay for many of his initial face-offs, fellow BK lyricist Sauce Money. The Grammy Award-winning MC isn't shy about retelling some of the war stories, either. Read Sauce's firsthand accounts of what happened when Jay-Z went at it with the G.O.A.T. and the Dog. ...  

Opponent: DMX
Location: Bronx Pool Hall in the Bronx, New York
Circa: 1994

  DMX and Jay-Z

I remember one night we went up to the Bronx and battled DMX and them n---as at a pool hall. I think Dame [Dash] had set it up. You couldn't even move in there it was so packed. When we went in there, we got a few Brooklyn n---as with us, but sh--! ... There was way more Bronx and Yonkers n---as than guys from Brooklyn. But we in there like, "Yo, f--- it, son, we here let's do it. This is what we wanna be known for ... Getting busy." You had n---as in there with wheelchairs. Everybody came to see that sh--. It was an underground event!

Guys would be rappin' about what they do with their [guns] like, "I'll shoot that, or this." They would start lifting their shirt up, showing their burners. Then they would be rapping with burners in their hand. That's when you knew, "This is hip-hop. I'm in this sh-- for real." That's the only time I seen n---as pull out a gun and nobody ain't jet. It was the love, the love made you stay like, "I don't give a f---. What! I'll die for this sh--."

Everybody had to get on top of a pool table and spit. And the last people to do it were Jay and X. Everybody was waiting to see Jay and X. They didn't disappoint. X got busy, but  Jay ... woo! X was the home team. Even though X was from up that way, Jay got so busy, n---as couldn't even front on him. They was like, "Yeah, son is off the hook." It's sad that no one ever got a chance to hear him at that period. Ya'll are really only getting three quarters of it. You're missing that initial quarter. That initial quarter was so incredible.

Opponent: LL Cool J
Location: Outside the Shelter nightclub in New York
Circa: Early '90s

N---as was hungry. We was on the come-up, and we didn't think nobody could f--- with us lyrically. It was me, Jay and Jaz-O. We went to [producer] Clark Kent's birthday party. Wu-Tang Clan was there. I think B.I.G. performed "Party and Bullsh--" that night. We were supposed to get on [the mic] and we couldn't get on to perform. We was heated just looking for something to get. We was so frustrated trying to get on [in the industry]. We were just at every function trying to catch rep. We were doing whatever we felt we needed to do to make a name in the street.

We seen that LL came out with his man. I think the only person that might have known L was Jaz. I think him and Jaz were feeling a way about each other at that time. We just called him out respectfully. He was actually walking down the block and I think Jay shouted out, "Yo, what up n---a? Let's do it." I got a lot of respect for LL because he was on ... He was getting it. But because of his love for the game he came and battled with all of us. Like, "Y'all wanna do it? Let's do it."

Three n---as like us? Witty like that and hungry? I respect the effort that he put forth, but no n---a would have had wins that night. Jay set it off on him. Jay said a whole bunch of just incredible sh--. If I heard that rhyme today I'd probably try to steal that sh--.

I remember at one point L walked away and his man was like, "Nah son, you can't walk away, you gotta finish this sh-- off." Then he came back and he went for his. I wouldn't have paid to be L that night. I respect the fact that he came and he went for his.


— by Shaheem Reid


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