Today In Hip-Hop: Nas Goes After Jay Z In “Ether” Response

On this day, December 18, in hip-hop history…

3. Stillmatic (2001)

2001: One of hip-hop’s greatest rap feuds ever, Nas vs. Jay Z goes down in history. After Jay released “Takeover,” a diss track aimed at Nas and Prodigy of Mobb Deep off his sixth studio album, The Blueprint, the world waited for a response from the God’s Son. He would later release “Ether,” a response toward Jay Z, which is off of his fifth studio album, Stillmatic.

Stillmatic—released in the wake of a series of commercially successful, yet critically panned LPs, 10 years ago—finally saw Nas find his footing between record sales and acclaim with “Ether” as a standout cut. ”Ether” was monstrous, turning the hip-hop world upside down. He would say to The New York Times that he chose to name the song “Ether” because he wanted to burn Hov’s spirit. ”I was told a long time ago, ghosts and spirits don’t like the fumes from ether, and I just wanted to affect him with my weapon and get to his soul,” Nas said. The song attacked every component of Hov at the time, from his street cred to selling out.

Nas’ “Ether” continues to be mentioned by rappers as one of the top diss records and one of the most influential of all time in hip-hop. It has been referenced and sampled by artists since it was released back in December 2001. The word shortly after the song’s release entered into hip-hop’s vocabulary becoming a slang expression synonymous with ruthlessness.

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  • Quazi-Influential

    Is the song that starts at 3:24 from The Flying Trapeeze Brothers Soundtrack?

  • bless
  • Peso

    Nas won the battle but Hov won the war…Nas killed the homie and I can admit that even though Jay Z is my all-time favorite. I also think people slept heavy on “Takeover” as a diss track…Hov was hitting Nas with straight facts and Nas was hitting Hov by clowning the hell out of him. I guess it depends on how you judge battle, diss track etc. to see who won but the sh* was EPIC. 2pac “Hit Um Up” and Game’s “300 Bars and Running” are also in that all-time diss debate as well. It’s crazy How Jay Z and the battle between them made me a bigger Nas fan than I ever was up until that point. I also point out how Hov first career he came out with 8 albums in 8 years (sometimes 2 in 1 year) and Nas never did anything like that until after the battle. Jay Z inspired Nas something heavy and you cant deny that…