[Art by Nick Cocozza]
What's beef? Beef isn't flashing Twitter memes onstage, beef isn't ghostwriting allegations, beef is the tragedy that took Tupac and Biggie's lives, and according to Jay's long time collaborator, DJ Clark Kent, that beef almost included Jay Z.
During his interview on the "Waste of Time with ItsTheReal" podcast, Kent revealed that Jay had recorded an entire diss track in retaliation for Pac's lyrics on "Bomb First," where Pac went after a host of east coast rappers including Puffy, Mobb Deep, Biggie and, yes, Jay. According to Kent, Hova was set on releasing the track, but decided to shelve it when Pac was killed.
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"Jay did a record going at Pac but right as it was about to go out, son died. We performed it though. We was at the Apollo. It was...scathing. Crowds was like, oh shit."
Wait...what? You mean there's a small group of people who were at the Apollo that night who heard a Jay Z vs. Tupac diss track that no one else ever has? In the age of the smart phone that video would have been all over the internet in seconds, but since it all went down in 1996, it will only live on in stories like Kent's. Interestingly though, this news seemingly goes against Jay's original take on the situation, when he essentially insisted that he didn't pay any attention to Pac's shots and "rose above it."
Regardless, it's likely for the best that the song was never released, it only would have made a bad situation worse. For the full breakdown from Kent, be sure to check out all of his "Waste of Time with ItsTheReal" podcast.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]