Questions & Answers
In recent Complex interview, Swizz said his popularity affected the Ruff Ryders, and probably contributed to their demise.
SWIZZ BEATS relationship with JAY-Z was affected because DMX and LOX (Jadakiss) felt like Rocafella (Jay-Z) was trying to jock their style and play Ruff Ryders shady on the corporate level (Def Jam)?
Everytime I heard those LOX D-Block freestyles I knew they were going at Rocafella for riding their coattails:
Jadakiss = Jay-Z (“after the original its probably this” and “Heart of the City” from Blueprint)
Styles P (originally called himself “The Truth” first) = Beanie Sigel
Sheek = Memphis Bleek (potential similarities in wordplay)
EVE = AMIL (a lame version of EVE, but she had a dope little album for a female MC; she came from MAJOR COINS, which was a bite of MAJOR FIGGAS name from Philly. Coincidence?)
On Backstage (DJ Clue’s forgotten soundtrack to the Ruff Ryders/Rocafella tour), AMIL and EVE had a song together where I could have sworn EVE was busting shots at AMIL for being a copy cat of her newfound glory. (EVE was the hottest chick out at that 2000 time period).
Jigga My Nigga = Back then, a female intern told me that beat was originally meant for Jadakiss first album (KISS The Game Goodbye) as a victory lap declaration of no longer being on Bad Boy.
“whats my mfin name? JADA! Who I’m rolling with huh? RUFF RYDERS!
(L-O-X, 9ers better keep it right, 9ers better get it right!).
Swizz confirmed that EVE was the one singing the hook, and that most of his beats wound up recorded by artist he didn’t intend to give them to. Coincidence?
[Swizz on “Blackout”, (which IMO could have easily left JAY-Z legendary verse off that track and still been hot)]
“They all came in and JADAKISS was like, ‘Oh man, that is crazy.’ Once ONE PERSON co-signs it and they start writing to it, you’re locked in. Jada started writing to it and EVERYBODY ELSE followed him. That’s how it stuck. I be forgetting I did that record. Even right now I’m like, ‘Oh shoot, Blackout!’ [Chants Jay-Z’s lyrics] ‘I’m a monster! I sleep whole winters, wake up and spit summers.’ We should have shot a video for that too. That would have been crazy. I wish we had video of it.” (Kanye did a video for “Monster” featuring the same type of cadence or concept as “Blackout” could have been). KISS started that Blackout off by saying “Jay, this the one right here! FUCK THAT 9ers KNOW WHAT IT IS”.
Jadakiss “I used to have bad luck/
now you might see me in a JAGUAR truck/
either with a dime, or a bad duck”
(Jaguar Truck was non-existent at that time, but anticipated as a SUV concept)
Jay-Z “surrounded by 600 (BENZ) & HUMMERS/
bitches amongst us/
trying NOT to let this bullshit become us./
Jay flows for pesos, chase hoes?/
I just circle around the block in a drop”
(a direct shot back to let LOX know that he was a solo “monster” on his own and he did his “numbers” by himself, which they didn’t do on Bad Boy or Ruff Ryders, 4th quarter or summer release.)
Styles P “ordered to go always got a box of L’s/
in a 98 LINCOLN eating taco shells/
I pop shit cause I AM the 2nd best — the first was BIG”
(letting Jay-Z know that he was the type to do real things in the streets, and that he wasn’t buying his King of NY hype)
DMX “we could take it there, but to make it fair/
BRING SOME MORE 9ers/
Styles, Sheek, Jada — WE COMING WITH LIKE FOUR 9ers!”
(DMX capped off the fact that Ruff Ryders wasn’t gonna jump JAY-Z on the track, but let him come back with his “weak ass crew”)
on other freestyle or cipher type songs, LOX or DMX never dropped hard subliminals at Big Pun, NORE, Camron, etc ON THE SAME TRACK.
[Swizz’ take on the rivalry]
“There was DEFINITELY COMPETITION between THE ROC and RUFF RYDERS back then. It was a hard place for me because I would play the beats for everybody and PEOPLE WOULD ACT LIKE THEY DIDN’T HEAR EVERYTHING AND THE GET UPSET WHEN I WOULD GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE AND IT TURNED INTO A BIG HIT. “It was never said or brought up but you could feel it. It was like, ‘You know we’re beefing. Why would you give them that track like that? There was all this, ‘I know they beefing’ feeling. I would hit Jay and Jay would not hit me back. But I didn’t have anything to do with the beef.”
A: Thanks for your question, it was very intriguing , you clearly studied the situation and know the history.
RocaWear was A TOTAL MIMIC of Ruff Ryders wear. Be clear…a TOTAL MIMIC. The bandanas, the denim jackets. So blatant!
It’s no secret that both labels were highly competitive, and it’s also no secret that their was animosity between DMX and Jay-Z.
We need to look no further than In My Lifetime Vol 1, to see how Jay-Z and Rocafella were desperate for commercial success, as Reasonable Doubt was met with warm praise, but to little sales . In My Lifetime jumped on the “Jiggy Era” sound that Bad Boy had pioneered – hence there being Bad Boy Hitmen all over the album. The album however still failed to catapult Jay-Z to super stardom, as it was just a cheap version of Mase: Harlem World.
Imaginary Player is a Mase diss, especially the 2nd verse. Mase just defended himself on a couple tracks because Jay was clearly trying to mimic his style, even when taking shots at him!
This is classic Jay-Z. This is a rapper who doesn’t mix his words up, very intelligent man, very strategic and cunning.
We must also bare in mind that surprisingly Ruff Ryders and Bad Boy got on very well. Mase was originally in Ruff Ryders and Dee & Waah were good friends with Puff, which is why he would only let The LOX sign to Ruff Ryders (whilst still owning their publishing). You could say that Rocafella was on the outside, until Lyor Cohen landed with his divide and conquer tactics.
Image wise, Jay completley changed after Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime. No longer the suited up Bentley pushing flossy rapper, he was rhyming about TRUCKS and suddenly coming through PHILLY all the time (a known Ruff Ryders “territory”).