Jay-Z’s “Takeover” vs. Nas’ “Ether”

I remember my first time listening to Jay-Z’s “Takeover” when I bought The Blueprint back in middle school. The song came on right after “The Ruler’s Back,” which I thought was the perfect way to start a CD off. But when the track ended and the beat to “Takeover” entered my ears, I was a little disappointed. I thought the song’s beat was kind of wack back then. I just knew it was going to be another one of those Jay-Z songs that I skipped over to get to the tracks I liked on his project. I WAS WRONG. After listening to the first verse on “Takeover,” I was aware that he was taking subliminal shots at someone, but I didn’t who. That was until the second verse arrived. The total lyrical content on the track switched from being subliminally-delivered bars to direct bombs at some of New York’s most popular spitters—Mobb Deep and Nas. I’ll never forget when I heard Jay confidently state, ‘Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov. No!” at the end of the second verse. I just knew the duration left on the song wasn’t going to be pretty. And then the third verse set in and Jay doubled back to go in on the Queens emcee (and some more at Mobb Deep). I was overwhelmed by the way Jay dissed some of the other rappers I liked from the East Coast; everything from both Mobb Deep and Nas’ background, street credibility, album sales, and lyrical ability were targeted on the “Takeover.” I was also amazed at the fact that Jay didn’t seem worried about it at all. It seemed like he knew neither one of them could f&$k with him.

Too much time didn’t go by before Nas returned with his own response, whch was the ferocious track “Ether” off his album Stillmatic. If diss tracks were solely based around production, the beat for “Ether” unquestionably crushed  “Takeover” in my opinion. But it wasn’t, and Nas was aware of that, which is why he decided to do everything in his lyrical power to eradicate the career of Jay on the song. However, one of the most powerful parts on “Ether” didn’t come from one of Nas’ verses, but through a slowed sample of Tupac saying “Fuck Jay-Z.” The line was taken from Tupac’s track “Fuck Friendz.” That instantly got my attention when I heard it. From there, Nas dropped some ill bars on the song about Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella roster. After hearing it, I was once again overwhelmed, but I was also impressed by the way Nas made interesting points about Jay’s relationship with the Notorious B.I.G.,  claims of being a prosperous street hustler, and the origin of Roc-A-Fella’s moniker, among a few other topics that I won’t bore you with.

All in all, I think both “Takeover” and “Ether” boasted some of the best verses ever delivered on diss records, and Jay and Nas’ feud will go down in history as one of the most entertaining occurrences in hip-hop. To me, Jay’s diss was a little bit more witty, but it was delivered in an effortless style. On the other hand, it seemed like Nas was determined to not only assasinate Jay’s character, but do it in a fashion that also educated listeners. Overall, “Takeover” was a lightweight diss compared to Nas’ “Ether.” Jay, however, did double back and flame Nas’ a$$ on “Super Ugly,” but that’s another story.

Check out both records below and come to your
own conclusion on who won the battle.

By @Lou4President

7 comments

    1. Both songs had close enough production that it was a non-factor — Ether’s beat was just better, harder, and is one reason why it’s still considered a benchmark in diss tracks.

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  1. lmao, you think Takeover’s beat is less powerful? Ether’s beat definitely one of the worst in rap history, i’m not saying it’s not a dope record but, even though it came out 3 months later, Takeover is still superior in my book, “Gay z”? “cock-A-fella”? “fat lips” seriously Nasir?! man Jigga came with real shit Damn it he fuckin broke down the entire career of Nas IN ONE VERSE!! he was cool spitting that shit, and yeah, he killed Mobb Deep’s future in the previous verse LOL, it was the era of Jay-z vs everybody, i can see Jaz-o singing Ether’s second verse, all in all, Takeover was real, Ether wasn’t.

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  2. I can’t take any of what you wrote seriously after saying Ether had better production/beat. This was easily one of Kanye’s top 20 beats (and we know he was a beast producer). I will give Ron Browz credit (as in E for effort) because (unlike Ye) he built the beat up from scratch, but the end result was dissonant and unenjoyable. The hood gasses up Ether and its sophomoric jabs; honestly Jay had more quotables in the one verse he directed at Nas than Nas had in the entire Ether song. Now whose disses were better is debatable and I understand I am in the minority by stating Jay beats Nas here but production is not open for production (by anyone classically trained in music) I really don’t get where you are coming from when talking strictly about the beats/production.

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  3. Yall retarted Takeover beat was super boring but if I would choose beat wise Ether that shit was furious y’all jay fans need to just except that Jay Z lost I mean he didn’t take a big L he is a billionaire but he was ass in that battle

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