2006/02/main.jpgSide by side the kings of New York stood like oil and water. Nas, the army-green-clad street poet, and Jay-Z, the pop hustler in all black. The 20,000-plus in attendance erupted at seeing the longtime rivals rally for the sake of hip-hop. “A lot of niggas makin’ money and still fuckin’ mad at the world,” said Nas. “We savin’ the East Coast.”

Instead of declaring war like he alluded to on New York radio, Jigga, accompanied by some very famous friends, put on a concert that was more like a hip-hop version of Woodstock. The Def Jam prez opened the show seated in a makeshift Oval Office while Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech blared. Jay reintroduced himself with “Public Service Announcement” before skimming through his monstrous hit catalog.

In the night’s first surprise, the Lox reconnected with Puffy for “It’s All About

the Benjamins.” Next, estranged State Property members, Beanie Sigel, Freeway and Peedi Peedi reunited for joints like “Roc the Mic” and “What We Do…” Afterward,
a keyed-up Kanye West capped off a five-song set with “Drive Slow.”

2006/01-02/360.jay-z/1.jpgAs he’s been known to do, Jay saved the best for last. “You know what I did for hip-hop?” he asked the crowd. “Let’s go Esco!” And Nas descended the steps at the top of the stage to perform the hook on “Dead Presidents” live, officially squashing the bitterest beef in recent rap history.

Nas then smashed classics like “Street Dreams” and “Hate Me Now” with Diddy, before everyone returned for Jay’s “Encore.” Peace prevailed, as the god Hova and God’s Son finally saw the light.