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Colin Meloy & Reviews of Cat Power and Test Icicles

News 1.28.2006

In the news this week is the announcement of an end to one of music's biggest beefs, other than those between critics. New York rapper Nas signed with Def Jam Records, which is now being run by Nas' former rival Jay-Z. After years of trading spars over their skills, their love lives, and even their looks in such songs as "The Takeover" and "Ether," Nas and Jay-Z will soon be trading profits. Nas will release four Def Jam albums on his imprint, Jonas Experience. As rappers like Ice Cube, Eminem and 50 Cent know, however, the tradition of“playing the dozens”in hip hop is far from coming to a close.

One of the sources of conflict between Nas and Jay-Z is that both were trying to fill the shoes of the biggest voice in New York hip hop at the time: Notorious B.I.G. Rapper Christopher Wallace emerged from Brooklyn to become one of the greatest emcees of all time, proving the validity of the east coast hip hop scene. He is best known for his 1994 hit album Ready to Die, but also for his role in the escalating war between east coasters and west coasters like Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight. When Biggie was murdered in 1997, it became clear to the public that this war was having more than just an impact on music. Despite the high profile nature of the case, the L.A.P.D. has yet to make any legitimate headway. Because of this, the city was recently ordered to pay 1.1 million dollars to Wallace's family. Big ups to Brooklyn indeed.