42. Busta Rhymes f/ The Notorious B.I.G. & Labba "Modern Day Gangstas" (1996)
Producer: J Dilla Album: N/A Label: N/A
The details are sketchy and vary depending on what you read or who you're talking to, but “Modern Day Gangstas” was allegedly slated for a Busta Rhymes project. The track, produced by another fallen hip-hop icon, J Dilla, featured Biggie Smalls and Labba. Prior to Dilla's death, the producer claimed Nas was also to appear, but when the song was scrapped the feature was as well.
Recorded at the height of the Biggie vs. 2Pac feud, Big's verse was littered with not-so-subliminal shots at Makaveli. And while many brushed off “Who Shot Ya” and “Long Kiss Goodnight” as pure coincidence, there was no mistaking who Big Poppa was popping at here: “And the winner is, not that thinner kid/Bandanas, tattoos, my fists never bruise.”
Big went on to call Pac an actor, claiming to have rocked his chatter box, and that despite all the tough talk he wasn't “dangerous.” Any further suspicions were alleviated with: “By now you figure, he talkin' bout that nigga/But your weak-ass assumptions, lead lead to dumpin.”
Finding himself caught in the middle, Busta canned the track, crushing rap fans' dreams of hearing Biggie over a Dilla beat—until it was liberated on mixtapes some years later. Big's verse would also find a home on Born Again, remixed and repurposed as “Dangerous MCs.”