Nas’s Lost Tapes II served as a reminder why he is in the conversation of being one of the greatest of all time. Since the release “Queensbridge Politics” seems to be one of the tracks garnering the most attention. The Pete Rock produced track serves as Nas paying homage to Prodigy from Mobb Deep who passed away two years ago. In it Nas shares how it was all love between the two but there was still room for growth. They still needed to build their relationship back to what it was before their fall out.
Nas – Queensbridge Politics (prod. by Pete Rock)
The dynamic between Nas and Prodigy was indeed a complicated one that led to a ten-year period where they were at odds with each other. During the mid to late nineties Mobb Deep and Nas were a close-knit crew representing Queensbridge to the fullest. Constantly working together dropping classic after classic. The first track to surface was “Eye for a Eye (Your Beef is Mines)” with Raekwon appearing with Nas from the 1995 Mobb Deep album The Infamous. Years later an alternative version would surface which also included Ghostface Killah.
Mobb Deep – Eye for a Eye (Your Beef is Mines) feat. Nas & Raekwon
Mobb Deep – Eye for a Eye (Your Beef is Mines) (OG) Nas, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
Mobb Deep would return the favor and appear on Nas’s 1996 album It Was Written with the track “Live N**a Rap”. At the end of that year Mobb Deep dropped Hell on Earth with Nas contributing on “Give It Up Fast” which also featured Big Noyd. Then in 1999 Mobb Deep put out Murda Muzik with Nas appearing on “It’s Mine”. A track Street “Kingz” with Nas meant for the album was cut due to not getting clearance. Right before the end of that year Nas released Nastradamus with Mobb Deep on the song “Family”.
Nas – Live N**a Rap feat. Mobb Deep
Mobb Deep – Give It Up Fast feat. Nas & Big Noyd
Mobb Deep – It’s Mine feat. Nas
Mobb Deep – Street Kingz feat. Nas
Nas – Family feat. Mobb Deep
Around the same time Prodigy and Nas linked up for “Queens Day” which served as a promo single for Run-D.M.C.’s last studio album Crown Royal which ended up being delayed for two years. In 2000 Nas put out the compilation Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB’s Finest. Prodigy appeared on three tracks including “Da Bridge 2001”, “Power Rap” and “Self Conscience”. Although Prodigy had a heavy presence on the project this was the beginning of the decline of his relationship with Nas.
Run DMC – Queens Day feat. Nas & Prodigy
Nas – Da Bridge 2001 feat. Capone, Cormega, Mobb Deep, Nature & Others
Prodigy – Power Rap
Nas – Self Conscience feat. Prodigy & Mike Oldfield
The compilation served as a platform to showcase Queensbridge artist both known and unknown with Nas leading the charge. The issue was that at its core the album was a vanity project. Prodigy had been bringing in lesser known Queensbridge artists to hop on Mobb Deep tracks. People in Nas’s camp felt that Prodigy was from Long Island and was out of pocket. Essentially Nas fed into it and put together the project to one up Prodigy. To show him who ran Queensbridge.
Prodigy – Nas Beef
The other issue that was developing was the dynamic between Nas, Prodigy, and Jay-Z. Jay-Z on record had been throwing disses towards both Prodigy and Nas. Prodigy told Nas that they should team up and respond to Jay-Z. Apparently Nas downplayed it, alluding to Prodigy it was nothing. Eventually Nas would position himself to go at Jay-Z directly alone. This way he would garner the attention. Make it about Nas versus Jay-Z and minimize Prodigy’s relevance in the matter.
Prodigy would line himself with Cormega, another Queensbridge artist who had a turbulent relationship with Nas on “Thun & Kicko” from the 2001 album The Realness. On the track both artists attack Nas. Making accusations of him being exploitive and being a phony. Prodigy rhymes “You’s a notebook crook, with loose leaf beef/A backseat criminal who pass the heat/To somebody that blast the heat/Man, it sound bad on the pad,what happened in the street?/
Cormega – Thun & Kicko feat. Prodigy
Nas would address Prodigy directly on “Destroy & Rebuild” from 2001’s Stillmatic. He questioned his loyalty with the lyrics “Before I woulda told you Prodigy’s my dog/ Through the ups and downs, robberies and all/ Though I always knew he wanted my downfall/. He then called him out for asking his brother Jungle to get back his chain. Saying he had no business doing so because he really was not truly from Queensbridge.
Nas – Destroy & Rebuild
In 2004 Nas held a concert at Central Park. Prodigy insisted on being on the bill as well. He went to see Nas prior to the performance to extend an olive branch to make peace. Nas’s reception was cold and distant, acting aloof. Eventually people from both artists’ camps behind the scenes got into a huge altercation. Ironically that same year Prodigy and Nas would appear together on “Tick Tock” from The Alchemist’s project 1st Infantry.
The Alchemist – Tick Tock feat. Prodigy & Nas
It would not be until 2011 when Prodigy was released from jail that he would initially reconcile with Nas. Nas would bring Prodigy on stage to perform. They also went into the studio and recorded several tracks. Two songs ended up seeing the light of day. Dog Sh*t and Get It Forever which landed on Mobb Deep’s project Black Cocaine. Then Prodigy’s book which Nas addresses in “Queensbridge Politics” My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy came out. As a result no additional music came out between the two.
Mobb Deep – Dog Sh*t feat. Nas
Mobb Deep – Get It Forever
In interviews after the fact both Prodigy and Nas acknowledge that their situation could have been handled better. Prodigy boiled it down to ego, bravado, and feeding into what others said which made the issues bigger than they truly were. Nas mentioned that there will be a Lost Tapes 3 and 4 coming out. Hopefully fans will be able to hear more material between Nas and Prodigy.
Prodigy – Interview Discussing Past Beef with Nas
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