Jay-Z is a proud Brooklyn native and is one of the New York borough’s most successful rappers. The ‘PSA’ musician has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the music industry. However, before he found fame, he was mingling with soon-to-be stars.
Born and raised in the infamous Marcy Projects in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Jay -Z (real name Shawn Carter) Carter was raised by his mother and exploded onto the scene in the late 1990s alongside businessman Damon Dash with his 1995 debut album Reasonable Doubt.
However, the lyricist had honed his skills long before he entered the limelight and, akin to artists such as Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, perfected his art by battling other local acts. As an adolescent, Carter attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School near Brooklyn Heights. However, he was not the only household name to attend this educational institution.
Both Biggie Smalls and Busta Rhymes attended George Westinghouse High School, although Carter was three years above these legends. However, age didn’t stop individuals from battling, and many lyrical clashes took place in the hallways of the school. Although Biggie and Jay-Z had interactions and were friendly, in the competitive spirit of rap, before respectively finding fame, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes had a rap battle in the school’s lunch room.
In an appearance on the 85 South Show podcast, Busta Rhymes recalled the clash and even conceded admitting that Jay-Z won, revealing, “Ultimately, Hov got the best of the battle in that moment. I was just starting to figure out how to master my fascination with the speed rap. He was already on it,”
He continued, “He was doin’ it at an incredible level of skillset. And was displayin’ that shit like — water spillin’ all over the place. Just takin’ shape and form whatever way he felt like it ‘cause he had been on his shit with it.” However, Jay-Z even admitted on live television that he beat Busta Rhymes while on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in 2016.
You can watch Carter talk about their epic battle in the video below.