M.O.P.’s Ante Up Remix Was Supposed To Feature JAY-Z & Prodigy While They Were Beefing
Although “Ante Up,” may not M.O.P.’s highest-charting single, the street anthem is a cornerstone of Billy Danze and Lil Fame’s catalog. Released in late 2000, the Loud Records single produced by D/R Period was emblematic of the menacing music that the Brownsville, Brooklyn Rap duo had been making since 1994’s To The Death. At a time when so many artists were bragging about jewels, medallions, and flossing the “iced out” lifestyle, the Mash Out Posse reminded the high-posters that stick-up kids are forever out to tax.
As the Warriorz single delivered M.O.P. to radio, music videos, and crossover markets, a remix enhanced the song. Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma, and longtime group affiliate Teflon appeared on the second offering, complete with a video (embedded below). However, in a new conversation with Doggie Diamonds’ The No Filter Podcast, Bill Danze reveals that another legendary lineup was originally intended.
At 2:00, the show host asks Billy Danze how a young Remy Ma landed on the remix. “Remy forced her way on the record,” says the veteran who just released his solo project, 6 Pack. “What I mean by that is, she just did such a good verse. We didn’t have her in mind.” In the next few years after the breakthrough appearance, Remy Ma (who was still known as “Remy Martin”) would officially sign with SRC Records, Steve Rifkind’s imprint after Loud.
Bill continues, “Really, [JAY-Z] was supposed to get on the song. Prodigy had did a [verse] for the song. I didn’t want to use Prodigy’s verse because he was actually talking about Jay. Remember, they had a lil’ beef then. So I hit Jay and was like, ‘Yo, nevermind. Don’t worry about the verse; we’re closing the song now.'” Bill continues that Jay likely knew that the Mobb Deep MC was going to be on the record. “He knew that was gonna happen. But I couldn’t allow that—even if it was the other way around. If Jay was on the record dissing Prodigy, I would’ve took Jay off the record. Nahmean? You don’t bring your beefs or lil’ war into my house; I don’t do that.”
At the time, Prodigy’s beef with Jay was just bubbling to the surface. According to a 2017 Complex feature, tensions started in 1998 when JAY-Z rapped, “It’s like New York’s been soft ever since Snoop came through and crushed the building,” on “Money, Cash, H*es.” In 1995, Capone-N-Noreaga, Tragedy Khadafi, and Mobb Deep has responded to Tha Dogg Pound and Snoop Dogg’s “New York, New York” with “L.A., L.A.”
“Jay was nowhere to be found when that drama popped off between Mobb Deep, Dogg Pound, [Tupac], and Biggie,” Prodigy would later tell The Source, as quoted in his My Infamous Life memoir. “That was our little personal beef, not a coastal war… so JAY-Z is a b*tch-ass ni**a for making that quote in his lyrics.” Jay eventually landed in Tupac’s scope of enemies, although he has worked with Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound.
Less than a year after “Ante Up,” those tensions and alleged subliminal disses came to the surface on Jay’s “The Takeover” and Mobb’s “Crawlin’.” In a 2017 interview with Rap Radar Podcast, JAY-Z revealed that he and Prodigy made peace before his former counterpart’s passing.
In 2000, Prodigy and M.O.P. were Loud label-mates. After Warriorz, Billy and Fame signed with JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records. Although the pair appeared on Jay’s “U Don’t Know (Remix),” they did not complete an album. Just Blaze recently revealed that he gave Lil Fame a drive of the beats set aside for that early 2000s project. Just also revealed in 2017 that Prodigy was the first MC to rap on “U Don’t Know.” In 1998, M.O.P., Jay, and Teflon collaborated on First Family 4 Life video single, “4 Alarm Blaze.” In 2014, M.O.P. and Mobb Deep teamed for “Street Certified.”
#BonusBeat: M.O.P.’s “Ante Up (Remix)” video, featuring Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma, and Teflon: