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Old School Archives

Watch rare footage of Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. freestyling back in 1995

@jackwhatley89

When you think back to the Mount Rushmore of 1990s rap, then two faces that are destined to be forever carved into the rock are Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. Without doubt, two of the greatest rappers to ever live, what Nas and Big could do one the mic would leave entire audiences agog. Below, we’ve run into some candid footage of those two giants delivering an iconic freestyle. It’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of.

Nas is your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper. It can all be traced back to when he was a fresh-faced 21-year-old in 1994 and delivered one of the most seminal albums that the genre has ever produced in Illmatic and has been a mainstay of the scene ever since. The two icons clearly delivered two of the greatest debut albums in hip hop history.

You’ll struggle to find a hip hop aficionado that doesn’t include that as one of their most treasured records and view it as Nas’ magnum opus. It’s been a quarter of a century since then, and over recent years, the New Yorker has returned to form with his pair of King’s Disease records, which he’s released over the past 12 months.

Equally, if there is one rapper who was thought of as the pinnacle of the industry in the surge of hip hop in the ’90s, then it was the Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Small’s rhymes and rhythms illuminated the world of hip-hop, asserting personality and colour into the purely irresistible genre that was bubbling under the surface. Biggie’s music had a charm to it that made your favourite rapper fall in love with the world of hip hop.

Last year, Smalls was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a moment that further established his legacy. At the time, Diddy, who famously signed Biggie to his label Bad Boy Records in 1993, perfectly summarised his talents: “Big just wanted to be biggest, he wanted to be the best, he wanted to have influence and impact people in a positive way, and that clearly has been done all over the world.”

However great they were in the studio, witnessing these two masters live must have been the stuff of dreams. Below, we can do just that as we travel back to 1995 to witness Jungle and Method Man hosting a freestyle session on stage for a very lucky audience.

The footage isn’t the greatest and the audio leaves a lot to be desired but to simply witness such a meeting of icons is worth the trouble of pressing play below.