Two of rap’s biggest juggernauts of the last decade, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne have an expected competitive relationship. Over the years there have been embracing shout-outs from both sides but not without an equal amount of slyness, slick shots, and tension.
Mutual respect has always quelled notions of an all out lyrical war, but earlier this week Weezy took an unmistakable shot at Jigga when the song “It’s Good” (along with the rest of his new album, Tha Carter IV) leaked. To make sure you’re all caught you up to speed, we’ve put together Frenemies: A History of Lil Wayne & Jay-Z’s Relationship. Read ahead to see the complicated relationship between two of the best rappers in the game.
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Lil Wayne Compares Himself To Jay-Z on “Dough Is What I Got”
Jay-Z Sends Subliminal Shots At Lil Wayne On “Trouble”
Date: November 2006
Lyric: “I can only view lil’ niggas like lil' niggas/But in lieu of lil' niggas trying to play that boy/I *phew, phew* lil' niggas with the latest toy/Unlike you lil' nigga, I'm a grown ass man/Big shoes to fill nigga, grown ass pants/Probably hustled with your pops, go ask your parents/It's apparent you're staring at a legend who/Put a few lil' niggas in their place before/Trying to eat without saying their grace before/Blasphemous bastard get your faith restored.”
Complex says: By this time, Wayne’s consistency prompted many fans to argue that he was the best rapper alive. Meanwhile, Jay was back from retirement and bent on reclaiming his spot. We couldn’t help but wonder if Jay was subliminally talking about Wayne on here because he kept referring to “Lil.” The last line on here was a clear reminder to the young rapper that the God MC is not to be toyed with.
Lil Wayne Says “I’m Better Than Jay-Z” In Complex
Lil Wayne Apologizes To Jay-Z For Saying He’s Better Than Him
Jay Takes Shots At Lil Wayne On T.I.'s "Watch What You Say To Me"
Date: July 2007
Lyric: “I hear you baiting me lately, I been doing my best just to stay hater free/Still watch what you say to me/Sooner or later I take you up on your offer/And put you all in your place like I'm replacing your father/You talking to the author the architect of The Blueprint/My DNA in your music, motherfucker you stupid?”
Complex says: Jay wasn’t naming names but the message was clear. In a reference to Weezy’s comments claiming that he was the better rapper, Jay let off some warning shots. Again, these were just reminders. It was Hov’s way of saying, “You ever heard ‘Takeover?’ Don’t get ethered!”
Jay-Z And Lil Wayne Team Up For “Hello Brooklyn 2.0”
Date: November 2007
What happened? The two collaborated on a song for the first time in 2007 on a track called “Hello Brooklyn 2.0.” The song appeared on Jay-Z’s American Gangster and was one of the last songs recorded for the album. Originally a Lil Wayne song, the track was almost completed when it was handed over to Jay-Z.
The two were never in the studio together during the recording process. Lil Wayne said of the collaboration, “When I was asked the question, I told them it wasn't even a question—he's got it. Everybody in the world knows how I feel about Jay...He's the king, utmost respect.
Complex says: Without a doubt, “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” was one of the weakest cuts on Hov’s excellent American Gangster. Wayne was on fire at the time yet Jay got a less than stellar song out of him. Could Wayne have been sabotaging Hov’s album?
Lil Wayne Comes Out For Surprise Performance With Jay-Z At Hammerstein Ballroom
Lil Wayne Reveals He Has Two Tattoos of Jay-Z’s “Lucky Me”
Jay-Z Calls Lil Wayne His Heir On “Mr. Carter”
Date: June 2008
Lyric: “I'm right here, in my chair/With my crown and my dear/Queen B, as I share/Mic time with my heir/Young Carter, go farther/Go further, go harder/Is that not why we came?/And if not, then why bother?”
Complex says: Everything being on the up-and-up, Jay decided to return the favor that was Wayne’s verse on “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” with a guest appearance on Tha Carter III’s “Mr. Carter.” With Jay feeling confident that he was back in the driver’s seat after the release of American Gangster, he finally acknowledged the claims Wayne had made for years and embraced him as the heir to hip-hop’s proverbial throne.
Jay-Z And Lil Wayne Appear Together On “Swagga Like Us”
Date: September 2008
What happened? Jay-Z and T.I. teamed up with Kanye West and Lil Wayne for the single “Swagga Like Us” that appeared on T.I.’s Paper Trail album. This marked the third collaboration between Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.
Complex says: This song consisted of four rappers who could all lay claim to being the hottest rapper in the game, respecting and subtly competing against each other. For Jay and Wayne, it was a gesture of recognizing one another as one of the four premiere titans in the game.
Jay-Z And Lil Wayne Co-Headline Power 105.1 Concert
Jay-Z And Lil Wayne Perform “Swagga Like Us” Together At The 51st Grammys
Jay-Z Shouts Out Lil Wayne On “D.O.A.”
Date: June 2009
Lyrics: “This might need a verse from Jeezy/I might send this to the mixtape Weezy.”
Complex says: Coining the nickname “Mixtape Weezy,” Jay-Z paid his respects to Lil Wayne on 2009’s “D.O.A.” More particularly, he complimented Wayne’s relentless mixtape rapping style. With their beef seemingly long behind them, the compliment was rare but not surprising.
Birdman Says Lil Wayne Is Richer Than Jay-Z
Lil Wayne Raps Over Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” & “D.O.A.” On No Ceilings
Date: October 2009
What happened? Weezy took Jay up on the offer he made on “D.O.A.” and got on the instrumental (he even threw a soundbite of Jay’s shoutout unto the freestyle) on his No Ceilings mixtape. But he also came gunning for Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” instrumental. No shots were taken though.
Complex says: Stylistically, Wayne’s freestyle over Jay’s hit single immediately drew comparisons to his “Dough Is What I Got,” which was the last time he rapped over one of Jay’s singles. This time though, Wayne didn’t let off any stray shots despite Birdman’s recent denouncing of him.
Jay-Z Pays Respect To Lil Wayne On “A Star Is Born”
Jay-Z Responds To Birdman’s Claims That Lil Wayne Has More Money Than He Does
Lil Wayne Performs With Jeezy During Jay-Z’s New York “Blueprint 3 Tour” Stop
Jay-Z Compliments Lil Wayne In An Interview
Lil Wayne Gets Excited About Jay-Z’s “Light Up” Verse, Contributes His Own
Date: June 2010
What happened? In a candid speakerphone conversation with Mac Maine, Lil Wayne talked about his reaction to hearing Drake’s collaborative song with Jay-Z, “Light Up.” Wayne said of Jay’s verse, “Ain't nobody talking about what your boy talking about. That nigga is stupid [with his rhymes]! I said, 'Oooh, look at that.'” Weezy later recorded his verse to the song over a prison phoneline.
Complex says: This showed that—despite their oft times rocky relationship—Lil Wayne is both a fan and a competitor at heart. The inspired verse that he contributed to the song was all in the spirit of competition. Wayne set out to show that he could still hang with any of hip-hop’s current lyrical heavyweights, including his labelmate and most certainly Jay-Z.
Jay-Z Sends Subliminal Shots At Lil Wayne On “H.A.M.”
Wayne Responds To Jay-Z’s “Baby Money” Line On MTV
Lil Wayne Disses Jay-Z On “It’s Good,” Says There Will Be No Repercussions
Date: August 2011
What happened? In a response to Jay-Z’s “H.A.M.” diss, Wayne rapped on Tha Carter IV’s “It’s Good,” "Talkin' 'bout baby money, I got your baby money / Kidnap your bitch, Get that ‘how much you love your lady?' money/I know you fake nigga/Press your brakes nigga."
When asked about the line Wayne said, “I know there won’t be any repercussions behind what I did. I know for a fact music is about perception. You can’t do anything but perceive what you hear. I know that for a fact. So I can’t ever be upset about someone’s reaction.”
Complex says: Reminiscent of the time Jay-Z mentioned Nas’ baby’s mother on “Superugly,” Waynes mention of kidnapping Beyonce may have taken this battle up a notch. Saying, “Press your brakes” is Wayne no longer willing to defer to Jay-Z. His nonchalant, “It is what it is” quote afterward furthers the fact that Wayne is now willing and ready to take out his most skilled adversary yet. The ball is in Jay’s court now.