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February 9, 2012

The Kings Of New York Perform Live at Carnegie Hall: Jay-Z and Nas Unite

I know you've probably heard the rumors about Beyoncé staying out all night for Jay-Z's performances at Carnegie Hall in NYC.  That bit of gossip has seemed to almost outshine the fact that the Director allowed Jay-Z to perform at the historic venue that was opened in 1891 and has never, until now, seen a rapper grace its stage.  What really touched me was the guest performers that he brought along with him for the ride.  Jay-Z brought out Alicia Keys, also a New York native, to perform with him as well as his once archenemy turned frenemy, rapper Nas.

We all know that Jay-Z and Nas' friendship has taken some turns for the worse in the past, with Jay-Z allegedly sleeping with the mother of Nas' first child.  Not to mention a scathing beef that was initiated with Hov's album The Blueprint, with a track called "The Takeover".  I recall so vividly unwrapping the CD case after it was first released, so anxious to hear the new material that Jay-Z had created.  Only to be greeted with an outright diss to Nas, one of my favorite MCs, over a Kanye West beat.  I'm sure we all remember that Fall of 2001 where two of rap's biggest giants collided in a rap beef that was made for the history books.

Nas, however, was not caught unaware as most of his fans were hearing the diss.  I remember reading articles in Hip Hop magazines, prior to the release of The Blueprint, where Nas explained that he knew Jay-Z was after his baby mama, his spot and the rap throne of NYC.  It would only make sense that Nas, having most likely read the Art of War and Machiavelli's The Prince, would be fully prepared to engage in arguably one of the biggest rap beefs ever. 

Nas fired back with Ether and I think its safe to say that Nas won the rap battle.  What he failed to secure, was the rap throne of NYC, as he neglected to engage further with Jay-Z after he continued to release verbal assaults via a track called Super Ugly.  In my opinion, Super Ugly was a desperate attempt at a response to the verbal lashing that Nas had inflicted on Jay-Z, the initial aggressor in this situation.  From my comprehension, Jay-Z later inadvertently admitted to losing the battle by saying, "Nigga what I'm doing can't be defined.  The Joneses can't keep up. Maybe my nigga Nas. But I got stronger after Ether."

It doesn't matter who you think won the battle, the fact of the matter is, two of New York's own went to war and both came out of the scuffle, not quite unscathed, but better men for it.  Years after the battle, the next time you would see Jay-Z and Nas together was on the video for Roc Boys, where Jay-Z enlisted the cameo appearances of Diddy and Nas, as they smoked cigars, rocked their Rat Pack tuxes and saluted each other in the video.  Now that was a beautiful sight.

Now, again, Jay-Z has proven that there are no hard feelings between the two MCs by bringing Nas along for the Carnegie Hall performance, an important historic event in Hip Hop.  I think this was a very gentlemanly move and I give kudos to Jay-Z because we all know he needs no sidekicks to rock a crowd.  Bringing Nas up to share that historical moment brought a smile to my face and a relief to my spirit, that all is well with two of my favorite MCs, dead or alive.

Do you think it was cool for Jay-Z to bring Nas on stage at Carnegie Hall to share this momentous occasion?
Are you glad Nas and Jay-Z are no longer beefing?
Do you think Nas' career took a dive after his beef with Jay-Z?
Did Jay-Z, in fact, get stronger after Ether?

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