In the mid-90s, there were a lot of rappers vying for the King of New York throne, whether it was Raekwon from Shaolin, Prodigy repping Mobb Deep or Brooklyn’s own, Jay-Z.
But there were two rappers who stood out amongst all the others – Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. Off the strength of his seminal debut, Illmatic, Nas was crowned the new King of New York in 1994, but it wasn’t before Biggie showed up with “Juicy” and his double platinum-selling Ready to Die, snatching the throne in the process.
The two rappers would continue to go back-and-forth over the next few years, with tension heating up particularly after Ghostface talked about Biggie biting Nas’ Illmatic artwork on the classic skit off Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…
Nas dropped “The Message” was a warning shot to all New York rappers trying to claim King, but aimed a few lines particularly at Big and the up-and-coming Jay-Z. Big would later return the shot on the Premo-produced “Kick in the Door” which featured the Brooklyn rapper dissing Nas, Raekwon and Jeru The Damaja.
But before all this happened, Nas and Biggie were friendly with each other – two New York rappers putting on for their respective boroughs. They initially discussed working together on Big’s debut, but when that didn’t work out, they talked about doing a remix of Biggie’s song “Gimme the Loot,” but Nas got too high to finish the song.
Nas: He wanted to get me on Ready to Die, and by the time I finished my first joint that was already out. He was trying to get me on Ready to Die, and it never happened. So he wanted to do the “Gimme The Loot” remix. He put up the beat, and I started writing. But he started smoking. He had some of that chocolate. He lit some of that up, and it was late. We’re lit. I’m like, “I ain’t got nothing. This is over today.”Nas Talks About The Major Keys Of His Iconic Career With Dj Khaled (We The Best Radio Interview)
Nas would go on to reference this moment on “Wu For The Children” off his 2021 release, Magic: “Shoulda did that remix verse on Gimme the Loot for Biggie / Me, Jay, and Frank White is like Cole, Drizzy, and Kenny.”