The year 2001 — as many who are old enough can remember — was marred with one of the most tragic events in U.S. history.
On September 11th, New York City (and effectively the rest of America) was jolted awake by the news of the World Trade Center and our nation’s capital under attack from terrorists, when four hijacked airliners slammed into the North and South Towers of the WTC as well as the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring another 6,000. It’s a memory that will forever be seared into our heads.
On that same fateful day, JAY Z would go on to release his sixth studio album, The Blueprint, reigniting his beef with Nas (and essentially bringing it to the mainstream) on the album’s track “The Takeover” (JAY performed the diss song at Hot 97’s infamous Summer Jam in June of 2001).
Fast forward a couple of months later where Nas — who was one of the main targets of JAY’s venomous bars — released his fifth album, Stillmatic.
Stillmatic, much like Hov’s The Blueprint, was a critical success in both album sales and acclaim (the former would go on to sell over 2M copies in 2008, while the latter eventually went double platinum) and both albums would go on to receive the coveted 5 mic rating from The Source.
It would prove futile to try and break down the best songs on Stillmatic, as every song on the album could fall into the “classic” category (save for “My Country” which I personally never liked), but what Nas’ follow up to his lukewarm Nastradamus will be forever known for is his rebuttal to “The Takeover.”
The Ron Browz-produced “Ether” certainly stands the test of time as one of, if not the greatest diss songs in Hip-Hop history, standing tall alongside tracks like “The Bridge Is Over” and “Hit Em Up.” The toxic barbs thrown at Jay would also eventually lead him to call into Angie Martinez’s show on Hot 97, calling the response “uneasy”; the irony in this can be found all over Jay’s “Super Ugly.”
Take a journey with us as we “Rewind” the timeline back to Dec. 18th, 2001 and revisit a slice of rap history.