Station: Hot 97
DJ: Funkmaster Flex
Best punchline: "Is he H to Izzo, M to the Izzo/Fa shizzle you phony, the rapper version of Sisqo."
After Jay-Z took his long-simmering beef with Nas public with the shot heard round the world at Hot 97 Summer Jam 2001 (which we documented in our 50 Best Hip-Hop Diss Songs list): “Ask Nas he don’t want it with Hov. Nooo!”
Nas had no choice but to clap back at Jay. And after a few questionable lines from Memphis Bleek, Nas was ready for war with the entire Roc-A-Fella team: ““Rip the Freeway/Shoot through Memphis with Money Bags/Stop in Philly order cheese steaks and eat Beans fast."
The next line, however, was the one that ruffled Jay’s feathers and no doubt led to “Takeover”: “Is he H to Izzo, M to the Izzo/Fa shizzle you phony, the rapper version of Sisqo.”
Nas went on to call Jay the “Fake King of New York,” clowning him for having no priors and rapping like the Fu-Schnickens. Some thought Nas fell into Jay’s trap—hook, line and sinker, but what can’t be disputed is that this freestyle marked the start of the greatest hip-hop battles of all time.