Friday, June 24, 2022

What Was Prodigy Beef with Jay-Z & Nas?

 


American rapper Albert Johnson, better known by his stage name Prodigy, was born on November 2, 1974 in Hempstead, New York. His greatest professional successes were accomplished as one half of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep.


But almost as much as writing great rhymes, Prodigy loved a good rap beef. His career was filled with battles against many of the greatest rappers of all time, and he usually gave as good as he got.




Jay Z vs Prodigy

The "New York, New York" video actually started a second major beef in Prodigy's career. Jay made a passing reference to the clip on his 1998 song "Money, Cash, Hoes": "It's like New York's been soft ever since Snoop came through and crushed the building."


It was a line Prodigy took public exception to. "Jay was nowhere to be found when that drama popped off between Mobb Deep, Dogg Pound, Pac, and Biggie," P told The Source. "That was our little personal beef, not a coastal war... so Jay Z is a bitch-ass nigga for making that quote in his lyrics."


Tensions that had been stewing for years (there were, P claimed, subliminals thrown back and forth on "Trife Life" and "Where I'm From") exploded in 2001 when Hov debuted his Mobb Deep diss "Takeover" live at Summer Jam, and included the now-infamous picture of a young Prodigy at his grandmother's dance school. 


"I did like the tactic that Jay used," Prodigy said years later, about the photo displayed on the Summer Jam screen. "That was pretty slick." He fired back with "Crawlin'"—and, at least according to his memoir, by nearly beating Jay up at Diddy's restaurant, Justin's.



Nas vs Prodigy

On "Destroy and Rebuild," released in 2001, Nas took some shots at P, but in a very Nas-like way: "Prodigy, I got love for you," he says on the song's outro. "Just get them unloyal niggas from out your circle." Prodigy claimed in his book that Nas rapped this because "he was mad at me for doing a song with Cormega on which Mega took shots at Nas in his verse."


But there was actually another, deeper level. P said in an interview on Vlad TV that some of Nas' Queensbridge friends were upset that Prodigy was repping their hood even though he wasn't originally from there.


"I can't even really be mad at Nas, because these is the people he grew up with," P said. "I had to distance myself from them, because [Nas is] standing next to someone who's threatening my life... that's how it got kind of crazy." Nas and P reconciled when Prodigy returned home from prison in 2011.





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