It is no secret that Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. all attended high school together in Brooklyn. While it is nice to imagine the three legends holding ciphers on the regular, Busta says he only battling Jay-Z once; and took a lose for the first time.
Busta was on MTV’s Rapfix Live when he recalled squaring off with a young Shaun Carter. “One day, somebody came up to me and was like, ‘Yo, Hov is in the cafeteria,’ ” Busta told Sway. “They weren’t calling him Hov at the time; they were calling him Jay. ‘Do you want to step to him on some rhyme shit?’ So I go. At the time, when we were rhyming, it was speed rap. That was the thing to do. I knew how to freak it, and he knew how to freak it. And at the time, he was so ill, ’cause of the people he was with at the time, Jaz-O and them, it was their thing [that style]. He kind of got the best of the situation. I got to give it up. He was so ill and his arsenal was so long that he had more than what I did. I spit my one rap, and my tank was empty real fast. He came with two or three after that, and I was like, ‘Here we go.’ But I gave it my best.”
Both young men went on to be two of the most successful rappers on their era. Even in a high school cafeteria Busta could see Jay’s immense talents. “That was probably the fist time that I lost a battle that mattered,” he said. “[Jay-Z] always exemplified greatness as an emcee. He was a scientist with it.”