Target: Prodigy, Nas
Producer: Kanye West
Album: The Blueprint
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Best Line: "Four albums in 10 years nigga? I could divide/That's one every, let's say, two/Two of them shits was doo/One was naahhh, the other was Illmatic/That's a one-hot-album-every-10-year average"
Jay Z and Nas had a longstanding rivalry and were engaged in a silent power struggle for years, but the shots remained (somewhat) subliminal until Jay Z called out Nas on stage at Hot 97's Summer Jam in 2001: "Ask Nas he don't want it with Hov." Nas subsequently took the bait and dissed Jay on his "Stillmatic" freestyle, prompting Jay to unleash the classic "Takeover."
Jay's response was crafted more like an essay than an actual battle rap, with Hov introducing the argument, analyzing the data, raising counter-arguments, and then concluding. Prodigy of Mobb Deep was dissed on the second verse, but this was dramatically overshadowed by Jay's beef with Nas. Hov's shots at P focused on his small stature, smaller record sales, and the infamous "ballerina" pic he flashed on the screen at Summer Jam 2001.
The Nas portion was far more brutal, attacking Nas' descent from hip-hop's top MC list to a guy who was now being out-rapped on posse cuts by his bodyguard. Jay went on to clown Nas' catalog, and on the final line alluded to sexing Nas' baby-mother, Carmen Bryan. Many speculated Nas' career would be finished after "Takeover," and some believe Prodigy was never able to recover.