On February 9th (or the 14th, since the calendar has shifted), the calendar indicates a class about Disses and Interpretation. On the homework before that class, "Ether" by Nas is assigned. Now, "Ether" is a track by Nas on his album Stillmatic, and it is a response to Jay-Z's track called "Takeover" on The Blueprint album. Personally, I feel that "Ether" cannot fully be understood until it is heard with its counterpart. To me, "Takeover" and "Ether" should be taken together as a two-part, formal genesis of one of the most high-profile hip hop beefs of all time.
Since "Ether" is assigned and "Takeover" is not, I will focus mainly on the latter. I came across "Takeover" while taking the NJ transit to the New York (how fitting) Penn Station. At the time, I didn't know much about the Nas v. Jay-Z feud, but I did cringe and gasp at the extreme taunts that Jay-Z spit at Nas. The first appearance of the song was at the Hot 97's Summer Jam hip hop festival in 2001. The main part of the track is the middle, where Jay-Z lays down a thirty-two bar verse instead of the old sixteen, explaining why Nas fell off. To give a little taste:
"You said you've been in this 10, I've been in it 5 - smarten up, Nas
4 albums in 10 years, nigga? I could divide
That's one every, let's say 2
2 of them shits was doo
1 was "nah", the other was "Illmatic"
That's a one-hot-album-every-10-year average
And that's so LAME"
Many thought that Nas simply could not come back from the walloping that "Takeover" did, but Nas, amazingly, did come back. And Nas packed quite a punch.
To listen to Jay-Z's "Takeover": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAnGnevKxJE
To learn more about the Nas v. Jay-Z feud:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-Z_vs._Nas_feud