Posts Tagged ‘Ether’




"Mmmmm, mmmm, good."



I pride myself on being an individual as I go through life, foregoing trends, dodging the “norm”, and I try to avoid being what society says I am, or should be. My personal style, the way I speak, and even some of the music I listen to are all atypical of the demographic I fall into. This fact has been the reason for the position I took on a heated debate that was popular in the hip hop culture a few years back. It seemed to me that everybody and their mothers were busy stiff-arming, throwing elbows and gouging eyes out to get a spot on the ever so crowded Jay-Z bandwagon. Me, not so much. I was pumping my fist hard for my boy Esco. From Illmatic, to Nastradamus, to Untitled, I was on my own wagon with elbow room for days. Then the beef started. “Takeover” and “Ether” were the most popular dis tracks in the aforementioned feud between Nas and Jay-Z back in the ealry parts of the decade, and although only one verse in Takeover” was directed at Nas, it was undoubtedly impressive. Hov bringing to the light Nas’s subpar releases since Illmatic put him on the map, as well as pointing out Mr. Jones’s attempt at intellectual rhymes. On “Ether”, Nas retorted, putting on blast the fact that S. Carter made a habit of using Biggie’s lines and also recycled an album name that had previously been pressed up. He also turned the tables on Jay-Z’s disdain for Queens rappers evidencing that Rockafella Records is run by a Queens native in the form of one Russell Simmons. There is no doubt in my mind that Ether decided the fate of Jay-Z in this epic hip-hop, heavyweight battle, giving the unanimous decision to the “QB true G”.

Throughout the entire beef and even through the “best rapper alive” debates, I stuck with my favorite, Nas. I never relented and always had a reason why I think Mr. Jones was “the best”, as evidenced in this previous post. Now, I don’t take back anything I said about Nas, and the assertions I put forth will always stand, but I must enjoy this big plate of crow sitting in front of me and state that Jay-Z is, indeed, the……..dare I say it?  The Best Rapper Alive!!! I came to this realization this morning as I listened to the Black Album while cleaning my place up. Every single track had me nodding my head and “rapping” along with the lyrics, as weird as that may sound. At one point, I had to stop and say, “Daaammmnnnn, that boy good.” I can now honestly admit that none of Jay’s albums were disappointments. My all-time favorite of course was the first, Reasonable Doubt. 22 Two’s is probably one of the most creative songs I’ve ever heard. Brooklyn’s Finest definitely stands up to the name of the track with the greatest and the third greatest rapper from the East Coast displaying their skills on wax. Nas still holds the spot as my favorite rapper of all-time, but he now comes in an extremely close second on my “Best Rapper Alive list.”



On the heels of my latest post, Another ENCORE, Please, I came across an article on Yahoo’s featured news page, written by their Hip-Hop writer, Billy Johnson Jr.,  that reported, Last week Vibe magazine announced that Eminem had won its Best Rapper Alive competition.” Although I am a fan of Em’s, I don’t agree with the ruling. There was a catch though, the self proclaimed, “voice of urban culture” didn’t choose the person who would own the title of this highly argued topic, but they polled their readers using a bracket system similar to those used during playoff time in different sports. In the first round of a basketball playoff scenario, eight teams are ranked by their record in their respective conferences, East and West. Out of the eight teams the #1 team plays the #8 team, the #2 team plays the #7 team, and so on and so forth. That way the “best” teams, in terms of standings in their conferences, are the most “likely” to move on to later rounds. VIBE had four different brackets (conferences),  and it seemed, for the most part, that the 15-year-old publication attempted to do the same with the whole ranking system, bringing the victor from each bracket together to determine the overall winner. Amidst my browsing, I caught, what I consider, a few slip ups in different areas and have listed them below for your to openly scrutinize, if you’d like. 

Lil’ Kim (#9) vs. Lauryn Hill #8Lauren Hill is, without a doubt, one of the top female lyricists of ALL TIME. There should be no discussion concerning this matchup. Fortunately, the best woman did win. 

Nelly’s ranking – Nelly was ranked #5 in his bracket above Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Beanie Sigel, and even Joe Budden. I think a recount is in order. As a matter of fact, I DEMAND A RECOUNT!!!

A few of the slip ups, VIBE had nothing to do with. They were all a result of the uninformed voters. Here they are…

Ludacris(#3) beats T.I.(#2) with 58% of the votes– I agree with the rankings in their bracket but this race shouldn’t have been this close. The title of “King of the South” was rightfully bestowed upon Mr. T.I. long, long ago, Luda. Sorry…

The Game(#3) wins over Andre 3000(#1) – Most people can’t really get with Mr. 3G’s style but his creativity is what stands out for me. He is a genius at story telling, his quirky choice of words, and the mind churning metaphors he spits, all give him the “W” in this head-to-head, in my mind anyway.

In the fourth round of voting the M.C. that I think is the Best Rapper Alive, suffered a close defeat by Eminem, the eventual winner of it all. Who, you say? Mr. Nasir Jones. The voting was extremely close though, Slim Shady taking the victory with 57% of the votes compared to Nas’s 43%. Now, I was going to dedicate a much deserved post solely to Nas and explain why he is the Best Rapper Alive, but since I’m already gracing the subject here, I will calm you all’s wondering hearts with an abridged version of what is soon to come. 

Nas came into the game of Hip-Hop at a time where it was basically being dominated by the West Coast, Gangster Rap scene. The likes of Wu Tang Clan, The Notorious BIG, and Mobb Deep, all undeniably great in their own right, entered mainstream hip-hop at around the same time as Nas and collectively, helped put East Coast Hip-Hop back on the proverbial map. From his street anthem album, Illmatic to his politically driven latest release, Untitled, he has touched on a plethora of subjects, all with a naturally effortless flow. He can talk about the street life that he lived, (Life’s A Bitch)  and on the flip side he can speak on the problems facing our community (Black Girl Lost, Second Childhood, I Can).  The commercial crossover song is also a part of his repertoire (You Owe Me, Hate Me Now). The creativity he possesses is unbelievable and he can rattle off a narrative with ease. For example, on Stillmatic, Rewind, is a story told totally in reverse. Now that is one-of-a-kind thinking. Rather than talking about money, hoes and clothes throughout his whole career, Nas, unlike many other rappers, grows with every release. He is not afraid of  alienating his fans when he tackles socially conscious issues. Neither is he fearful of dedicating a whole album to one word, creating amazingly thought provoking tracks that take absolutely nothing away from his credibility (Untitled). Oh yeah, I’m sure all the Jay-Z fans out there know that Mr. Jones is indeed a heavyweight when it comes to battles, poisoning opponents with his lyrical venom and dismissing them with the verbal jabs that bruise their sub-par rhymes.

“Ask me if I’m tryin’ to kick knowledge. Nah, I’m trying to kick that sh*t you need the learn though, that Ether, that sh*t that make ya soul burn slow…” – Ether, Stillmatic

In parting, I would like to quote the man of the hour with this…

“I got this locked since nine-one I am the truest, name a rapper that I aint influence…” – Ether, Stillmatic.

I couldn’t have said it better………