Circa: 1991
Producer: Prince Paul

Remember when Nas accused Jay of jacking his style from Illmatic, claiming he used to rap like Fu-Schnickens? Well, actually Jay was chasing spiritual residuals with his tongue-twisting lyrical miracles before Fu Schnickens, or their Chi-town counterpart, Twista. As a sideman for fellow Marcy Houses native Jaz (aka Big Jaz and Jaz-O), Jay brought a head-spinning, double-time flow to his former mentor’s 1990 single, “The Originators.”

While that track sounds impossibly dated today, see “It’s That Simple” from Jaz’s To Your Soul LP for a Jaz n’ Jay collab that holds up better. With production from Prince Paul, “It’s That Simple” could easily pass for a forgotten Native Tongues project, or perhaps a lost cut from KMD’s Mr. Hood. Notably, Jay, legendary for not writing rhymes and spitting from the dome, begins his verse claiming the opposite: “Freestyle rhymes are easy to come by/A pen and a pad when it comes to this one guy.”