With just days to go until the release of his Stillmatic (December 18), Nas' unwavering lyrical feud with Jay-Z has just gotten uglier — "Super Ugly," in fact.
On the heels of Nas' retaliatory "Ether" (see "Nas Disses Jay-Z, Endless List Of Others On New LP"), a response to Jigga's "Takeover" on The Blueprint, Jay-Z has dropped two counterattacks in the past few days. One of them, "Super Ugly," debuted Tuesday on New York radio station Hot 97 and finds Jay rhyming on the beats of Nas' "Got Ur Self A ... " and Dr. Dre's "Bad Intentions."
In the song, Jay-Z not only implies that NBA star Allen Iverson had an affair with the mother of Nas' daughter, but he also offers lurid details of his own alleged adventures with her ("Left condoms on your baby seat," he raps).
Nas said that while Jay may seem to be taking the feud personally, he's not letting it get to him. " 'Ether,' it's not emotional," he said. "When I heard ["Takeover"] I thought he was kind of emotional. I can hear it in voice, he was a little angry. I was like, 'Wow, he's really touchy when it comes to me.' He says he's doing well in his records, he seems to be having a good time. I'm a stone in his shoe and a thorn in his side."
The MC has an idea about why Jay is so hostile toward him. "The animosity thing has always been about somebody wanting to be the king of New York," Nas said. "Me, myself, never wanted that crown. That crown's a big responsibility, ask [New York Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani. Notorious B.I.G. was the king of New York, of rap, and he never got so much hate. Jay-Z wants the crown so bad he would step on anybody to get it. ... He said on his album if he's not better than Big, he's the closest one, which I felt was the wrong thing to say."
"We supported Biggie," he added. "There was jealousy, of course. But overall, New York supported Biggie. Nowadays you've got brothers not liking [Jay] because they see he's not pure about what he's supposed to be doing. It's not about saying you're better than Biggie when Biggie's in the ground. It's not about saying you're the king of New York. It's about making history with rap music and letting the people crown you king."
On Stillmatic, Nas also sends a shot at former friend Prodigy of Mobb Deep with the song "Destroy and Rebuild," which is a call to eliminate the so-called weak links that represent his native Queensbridge housing projects.
"I would never disrespect my 'hood, and I can't stand to see somebody else make my 'hood look like something it ain't," Nas vented. "In '95, I read an article where Prodigy said he 'Didn't understand what Nas is talking about.' I ignored that. Years down the line I noticed his ego. And when you're talking hardcore stuff — not telling you to talk gangsta and live it — you can't be looked at as a coward.
"Recently I was listening to a [DJ] Kay Slay mixtape, and Prodigy was on there with a dude from around my way, and [the] dude was talking dirty about me. Then [Prodigy] was on a song with Cormega where Cormega was talking greasy about me. So I said, 'Man this is about cleaning up house.' "
Stillmatic's "One Mic" finds Nas relieving stress. On the track, he spews his most fervent rhymes since 1999's "Hate Me Now." "Jay-Z messin' with my baby's mother? Even though we not still together, I'm like, 'What?' " he lamented.
"I'm hearing Steve Stoute, my former manager, is hanging with Jay-Z. Jay-Z is shouting out Trackmasters, my former crew, my clique. Everything flipped. Outside of that, I'm trying to build my company, Ill Will Records, writing my films and things I wanna do outside of rap. ... Everything sort of piled up on me. I started getting midlife crisis. I started feeling it. All I need is one mic. I didn't need nothing else in this world. The mic was everything to me."