Rakim Reveals Nas Called Him For Advice Before He Ethered JAY-Z. Here’s What Ra Said (Video)
Recently, a number of MCs have openly rebelled against those that came before them. Lil Yachty said The Notorious B.I.G. was overrated. Young Dolph openly disrespected Pete Rock. And, too many rappers to count have favorably compared themselves to Tupac. But, it wasn’t always that way. There was a time in the not too distant past, when artists sought wisdom from the ones who helped forge their path.
Such was the case for Nas, who was already being considered as the greatest of all-time, when he approached Rakim (a perennial GOAT contender) for advice when he was contemplating whether or not to retaliate against JAY-Z for his scathing “Takeover” diss. During a recent interview with Rakim, where the reporter likened Nas’ battle with JAY-Z to Rakim’s rivalry with Big Daddy Kane–slick talk vs. poetry–Rakim volunteered that Nas actually called him before he engaged with full scale verbal warfare with JAY-Z.
“Nas gave me a call, and he asked me what I think he should do,” said Rakim. “A mutual friend that he had–a kid named Chuck–he was telling me Chuck told me ‘You know, if I don’t do such and such it’s over.’ So I told him ‘Look, my brother,’ and speaking from what I knew with me and Kane and everybody else, I was like ‘Look, G. If you wanna battle JAY-Z, you gotta do it ’cause you wanna do it. Not because I say you should do it, not ’cause Chuck said you should do it, not ’cause anybody said you should do it. Sometimes even you gotta mute your fans, ’cause fans, they wanna see some…but, you gotta do what you feel.’ I told him ‘Look, if that’s something that you feel, if that’s something that you want to do, that’s your decision. You can’t let nobody else make that decision for you.'”
From there, Rakim looks back to how he handled his rivalry with Kane. Acknowledging that he almost let his ego get the best of him, Rakim says that he had some words for Kane on “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em.” However, before the record was released, Eric B’s brother played the record for Kane, and Big Daddy called Rakim to settle their differences through diplomacy. According to Rakim, Kane said “Yo Ra, man, I hear what you said on the joint, but I feel like, beef…we lettin’ the people gas us up. ‘Cause when I’m doing what I do, I don’t be speaking on you, but soon as somebody hear one of my songs, they be like ‘What, you talking about Ra?'”
After his conversation with Kane, Rakim changed his verse, taking four to eight bars out of the song. As history played out, however, Nas did not follow in Rakim’s footsteps. He launched his savage diss record, “Ether,” and he and Jay engaged in one of those most bitter and prolonged beefs in Hip-Hop history.