As a jack of all entertainment industry trades, it’s easy to forget how swift Roc Nation emperor and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z is on the mic.
Thus, allow us to introduce this rare footage of a 1993 rap battle between Hov and his unsuspecting opponent where he spits a freestyle that reminds us all of why he’s championed as one of New York’s greatest emcees of all time.
The battle took place right on Hov’s Big Apple stomping grounds the New Music Seminar, a hot spot for emerging rap artists to showcase and match up their hip-hop talents with one another. As Hov drops flaming bars guided by no music, only his own rhythmic intuition, DJ Clark Kent, Harry Allen and Dame Dash, who would later become his Roc-A-Fella Records partner, can be heard handling hype-man duties in the background.
Hov fans might find the beginning of his battle spit familiar, as they’re the same bars from his “Greatest MC” record.
“It hit you like bam biggity bam bam biggity bam,” he raps. “The kid is a wizard, I’m definitely destined to make eight digits / Met up with G Rap on the road to riches.”
Rediscover one of New York’s hip-hop greats in his pre-industry prime below.
(Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)