Though it's been squashed for years, the Nas vs. Jay-Z feud has become an indelible chapter of hip-hop history. Most fans know that the storied beef stems from a series of incidents in the mid-1990s, following the release of Jay's debut album Reasonable Doubt and Nas' sophomore effort, It Was Written. However, it wasn't until 2001 that the feud reached its climax, when Hov took aim at Nas in his "Takeover" diss track. Nas, of course, fired back with the scathing "Ether."
After continuing to exchange jabs over the next several years, Nas and Jay publicly deaded their feud in 2005 during the former's I Declare War Tour. The memorable moment took place at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where Nas joined Jay on stage and shook hands.
Nas reflected on the hip-hop battle during a recent appearance on Rick Rubin's Broken Records podcast, insisting he was "honored" to have been a part of such a legendary music moment.
"The art of emceeing was right there on full display," he told Rubin. "It was like, if you're in the rap game, this could happen, a battle. It was like, 'This rap thing is real. A battle could really happen.' So I was honored to have that part of my life happen because that's how I saw the greats do it coming up. I saw some of the greats do it."
Rubin said he believed the back-and-forth took both rappers to new heights and elevated the entire game. Nas seemingly agreed.
"Again, it's about the art of emceeing," he responded. "And when you're trying to make the best stuff you can make, and you bump heads with another MC, and then you guys have a war or whatever, that's what this art form was since the beginning; since Double Trouble and Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee. But that’s what I like about hip-hop compared to other genres is that, they go at it in hip-hop. You know, like, really at it. Not to say that other rockers didn't go at it, other reggae artists didn't go at it, other crooner didn't go at it, but Hip-hop will always be around because of how competitive it is."
You can hear Nas' full comments below, and check out the full interview here.