The feud between Jay-Z and Nas has come to be recognized as one of the greatest in hip-hop history, an inter-borough battle for rap supremacy between two talents at the top of their game, highlighted by several scathing tracks — Jay’s “Takeover,” Nas’ epic K.O. “Ether,” etc. — and an acrimony that went beyond wax … simply put, these two guys didn’t like each other.
And yet, after four years of back-and-forth jabs, in 2005 both men put bad blood aside, as Nas joined Jay onstage during his “I Declare War” concert, and HOV, acting as president of Def Jam, signing his former adversary to a deal. Since then, they’ve appeared on each other’s songs, most recently the Magna Carta Holy Grail track “BBC,” and though they probably don’t exchange Christmas cards, Jay and Nas have forged a lasting peace, one built on mutual respect.
Still, in ’05, their reconciliation was very big news, and when both men sat down with MTV News’ Sway Calloway for a frank discussion of their feud, well, the hip-hop world paid attention … especially when these former adversaries open up about the first time they were in the room together after being at war for nearly half a decade.
“This isn’t, like, high school,” Jay said. “You don’t sit down with people and be like ‘So, we friends now?’ That’s just not a reality; but anything that’s shrouded in respect can grow. … It’s one of those things, at the time you would never think would happen in life, and it’s happening, so it was funny.”
“First thing that happened is, we gave a pound and bust out laughing,” Nas added. “[It was] like, look where we at right now.”
And, so, as we wrap up a week where we looked back at Jay’s most memorable MTV News moments, here’s a part of his epic sit-down with Nas and Sway … a moment where beef was settled, when mutual respect won out over ego. And a nearly a decade later, we’re all better for it.