Mobb Deep’s beef with Jay-Z all started because Prodigy believed the Marcy rapper was laying low during the height of the East Coast-West Coast beef.
Then when things had settle down, Jay popped up with “it’s like New York’s been soft / Ever since Snoop came through and crushed the buildings,” on his ’98 single, “Money, Cash, Hoes.”
“This shit was on and popping and we were still out there doing shows. This dude wasn’t around, he had nothing to say at that time,” the late Prodigy recalled in an interview. “That was kind of crazy that you just come out of nowhere talking about some shit that you weren’t nowhere around for, talking about you’re bringing back the feeling. We took offense, so we said something about it. That’s how that whole shit sparked with him.”
But the fact is, Jay-Z was getting ready to engage with 2Pac. After Pac went at Jay for his “Brooklyn’s Finest” collaboration with Big (“If Fay’ had twins, she’d probably have two Pacs”), he recorded a diss song and performed it one night at the Apollo.
“It never came out out of respect for the fact that he died,” DJ Clark Kent explained in an interview with A Waste Of Time With ItsTheReal. “Jay did a record going at ‘Pac, but just as it was about to come out, son died. We performed it, though. We performed it once. You have to understand. The chip on Jay’s shoulder is so crazy, it’s just like he had to perform it.”
“It was scathing,” Clark Kent recalled. “Crowds was like, ‘Oh, shit.’ It was super hard. It was super hard. If he was alive, there would have been no coming back. This was so tough. To me, it probably was one of the hardest dis records I’ve ever heard.”
In a 2006 interview to promote his comeback album, Kingdom Come, Jay-Z recalled performing the diss song at the Apollo Theater.
Jay-Z: I knew some people out West and they told me about the [Makaveli] song. It hadn’t dropped yet, but was on the way. I had my record ready. I shelved it out of the utmost respect, but it was coming. I performed it one time only at Apollo over ‘No Diggity.’ No one has that tape. They usually tape the Apollo shows, but they had just stopped taping for some reason. We tried to find the tape. It’s 2,000 people that know about it. I did two verses. It’s the truth, that’s the best shit. It’s so liberating, when you say what the fuck you wanna say.Jay-Z Countdown to Kingdom Come | XXL