THE BATTLE VS. THE WAR ; DID JAY-Z JUST WIN THE WAR AGAINST NAS WITH “4:44”?

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Ok, so Jay-Z vs. Nas is not as click bait worthy as say Mase finally dissing Camron after over a decade of jokes but unbenounced to some fans there may be a breakthrough in the Jay-Z vs. Nas debate. When this debate is conjured up in local barbershops or in between cubicles during cold calling, one thing is clear, you have a divide amongst the general consensus. For the sake of making this a quick read we will assume you have a good knowledge of the past feuds between Jay and Nas. Since their original lyrical sparring in 2000-2001, two of rap’s greatest M.C.’s have gone on to do records together, break records on their own and continue to move the culture forward. Jay-Z signed artist (J.Cole), Nas signed artist (Dave East). Jay-Z did business ventures; Nas did business ventures, now who has more money is not the entire point of the debate. The truth is, as long as we have to debate, we will never truly know who won the war between these two giants. We can fairly give Nas the battle, “Either” was undoubtedly one of the best diss records in hip hop history. In fact, “Either” was such a shattering blow that Remy Ma recently decided to use the record in her very direct diss record going at Queen’s own Nicki Minaj, and needless to say, the track is still hard to deny! What about life after? Well, since “Either”, Jay-Z went on to release “the Black Album”, “Kingdom Come”, “American Gangster”, “Blueprint 3”, “MCHG” and last but certainly not least the new classic “4:44”. Its fair to say “Either” didn’t slow Hov’s process down and he arguably did some of his greatest work and had his biggest success post “Either”. What was God Son up to after “Either”? Nas went on to release “God’s Son”, “Streets Disciple”, “Hip Hop is Dead” and “Life is Good” a very slept on classic. Clearly, Nas has not delivered as much content as his competitor and nowhere near as impactful. I do believe “4:44” may have given Jay-Z the final victory in this long-standing debate.  There has been a dark cloud that critics and casual fans held over Sean Carter’s head his whole career. The knock on Jay-Z has always been, he is not conscience enough as an M.C. or perhaps even a black man in America. Often criticized for either not doing enough or not being seen on the frontlines as opposed to Nas who has always spoke to the higher conscience of the urban community . Jay put those doubting critics to bed with “4:44”. Not only did he deliver a conscience album, he delivered a truthful and vulnerable album. The price Jay-z paid to win the war was bearing his soul and his truths for the world to hear, which meant a lot for such a private and guarded genius.  Tie “4:44” in with early works like “Reasonable Doubt” , “Life and Times Vol.1” and “American Gangster” (to name a few)and its clear Jay has more than enough material for the conscience consumer. I think it’s fair to say after Jay-Z released the song and visual for “B.A.M”, he had Nas beat. Many would recall, Nas did a collaborative album with Damian Marley (bob Marley’s son) entitled “Distant Relatives”. The album was phenomenal and did a great job of combining Nas’s conscience lyrics over Damian’s cultural and powerful reggae vibes. However, even with an entire album and some raw videos, Jay almost 8 years later collaborated with Damian Marley for just one record and bam! (No pun intended) The song and visual made Nas’s attempt look amateur. I believe unless Nas can deliver a whole body of work that can be hailed as a new classic, Jay-Z may have just won the war for greatest of all time.