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Combat Jack Presents: True Stories Behind 25 Rap Classics

Nas f/ Puff Daddy "Hate Me Now" (1999)


Produced by: Pretty Boy, D-Moet, and Trackmasters
"I represented Gavin ("Pretty Boy") on this. Gavin is also known as Foxy Brown's brother. Gavin also came up with the hook that Puff later recorded over. On top of the song being a hit, it ended up being the center of controversy. The concept for the video was that Nas and Puff had been hated on so much that they'd compare their persecution to Jesus. During the video shoot, both Nas and Puff were mock nailed to the cross. After viewing the finished product, Puff had second thoughts, what with him being a Christian, plus he didn't want to offend anybody with the imagery, he had already been through drama before. Puff contacted Steve Stoute, who was Nas' manager at the time, told Steve he wanted all scenes with him on the cross deleted. Steve agreed. MTV had planned to premiere the video as Puff, at the time, was one of the biggest artists out. Problem is, when they aired the video, they kept in the Puff crucifixion content.

"Watching this on T.V. in real time, Puff was livid, and felt that Stoute dissed him. Puff immediately 'allegedly' stormed over to Stoute's office, got into an argument with him, then banged him across the head several times with a champagne bottle. That must have hurt. Because champagne bottles are damn near impossible to break. And Steve Stoute, if you know him, has a huge-ass head. I was in my office at the time this was taking place. One of my business partners, Matt Middleton, who had attended Howard University with Puff, was one of Puff's BFFs. Well, right after this went down, Puff called my office to speak to Matt. Right then and there, Puff, all adrenalined-up, asking Matt had we heard about the incident. Matt put Puff on speaker because Puff was rabid, saying, 'I'm real hot on the streets right now, niggas! Real fucking hot! Nobody can't fuck with me right now.'

"Puff was so hot on the streets that he ended up having to settle out of court with Steve Stoute for the 'alleged' assault. Word then on the street was Stoute got paid a pretty penny for that champagne bottle dance. Shortly thereafter, after Stoute proved to Puff that he wasn't responsible for the crucifixion leak, and they both became best friends. Go figure. Still, all that drama doesn't take one bit away from how dope 'Hate Me Now' was, and is."

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