Throughout his 25-year career, Jay-Z has had his fair share of hip hop beefs. But the beautiful thing about elevating in life is that you find peace in your heart to let all the pettiness cease. Even altercations that you think can’t be undone, Hov is proof that time heals all wounds. On Friday, the Brooklyn legend performed his B-sides set at New York City’s Webster Hall for the venue’s highly anticipated reopening, and needless to say, he was unapologetically New York.
Jay brought out one-time rival Nas to perform their 2007 track “Success” followed by the classic “Dead Presidents”, then the Queens legend closed out their set with “New York State of Mind”. Nas and Hov have been cool for over 13 years now, after an epic beef that literally changed the course of hip hop and rap battles as we knew it to be.
But one of the illest beefs of Jay’s career was during his departure from Roc-A-Fella records Dipset was becoming the new faces of the label. The group’s frontman, and Dame Dash‘s Harlem brother, Cam’ron was not one to back down from the then untouchable, glorified Hov. The battle of the egos caused some real drama for both Jay, Cam and the label as a whole. Jim Jones also was also a huge part of the Jigga vs. Dipset era.
The beef between Cam and Jay started way before their days at Roc-A-Fella, but most notably, it kicked off in 2000, shortly after Hov stabbed Cam’s label head Lance “Un” Rivera. That same year, Cam’ron released his second LP S.D.E. which featured a cameo from Destiny’s Child on the song “Do It Again.” It also featured the song “Let Me Know,” which included numerous subliminal shots at Hov: “You rap about money, man, who are you anyway?” “When the f— we start bouncin’?”.
Fast forward to 2002, Cam signs to the Roc and even does a song with Jay, “Welcome To New York City,” — but then ish hit the fan. While Jay-Z was away on vacation, Jim Jones announces that Cam’ron has been made a Vice President at Roc-A-Fella. Needless to say, Hov wasn’t too thrilled with the direction the label was headed in. Fast forward again to 2004, Jay-Z, Dame and Biggs sell their 50% interest in Roc-A-Fella to Def Jam and is made President of Def Jam. However, Cam, Jim and the rest of Dipset stayed loyal to Dame.
For several year following the split, Dipset released several tracks dissing Jay-Z, with Cam even alleging that Hov blocked him from taking the VP job at Roc-A-Fella. He also claims that a gunman who shot him in Washington, DC one year earlier in a botched carjacking threw up the ROC’s diamond hand signal. Hov finally clapped back in 2006 with his track “Dig A Hole,” rapping:
“N—-s are like why don’t you get at old boy/Why kill the puppet it leaves Gapeto alive/Why not wait to catch them all together this way you dig one big hole one time.”
Dame also said at the time that the beef reallys started in 2001 when Jay-Z bought the “Izzo” beat from Kanye West after hearing him play it for Cam in the studio. By 2010, the beef was still going on, at least on Cam’ron and Jim’s side. But it was clear that Hov was done with the child’s play. Now here we are in 2019 — Jay-Z does his B-sides show in New York City where it all began, and brings out both Cam’ron and Jim Jones to rock the stage with him.
So anytime you need a lesson in forgiveness, just think — What Would Jay-Z Do?