In Hip-Hop, the epic rivalry between Jay-Z and Nas is the gift that keeps on giving as stories about the seeds that ultimately grew into an all-out war of words between the two titans continue to surface decades later.
During a recent appearance on the My Expert Opinion podcast, DJ Clue, who worked with both artists during the course of their beef, gave his recollection of how the discord began, pointing to a freestyle by Nas on one of his mixtapes as the first shot fired.
“Well, to be honest with you, I didn’t even realize that the freestyle Nas gave me was him going at Hov,” shared Clue. “I went to go meet Nas to finish the freestyle in Long Island. We was doing the freestyle, I got it, left. I didn’t even realize what he was saying on there until way way after. I didn’t even realize that he was throwing shots… because you know nig*as, don’t say names, so it can be [about anyone].”
Clue also pinpointed the track in question as a Nas freestyle over Mobb Deep’s “Eye for an Eye (Your Beef Is Mines)” instrumental. Nas appeared on the original release. “That was the ‘Eye for an Eye’ freestyle. Hov never even mentioned it, to be honest with you. But that was the ‘Eye for an Eye’ freestyle from Nas, that’s where he started throwing shots and I ain’t even realize it. It kind of went over my head at the time.”
Another revelation made during the interview was Murder Inc. CEO Irv Gotti’s involvement in the beef between Jay and Nas, claiming that Gotti persuaded Hov to change lyrics on his original response to “Ether” that Clue felt were particularly damaging.
“Hov did have some bars that were hard, but Irv Gotti made him change them and I was like, ‘Alright,’” claimed Clue. “Remember, like I said, I’m neutral. So I heard it, I’m like, ‘Oh, that sh*t’s crazy.’ And Irv was like, ‘Nah, nah, you need to go this route,’ so I’m like, ‘Alright.’ I left it alone.”
Watch the clip from DJ Clue’s My Expert Opinion interview below.