Kobe Bryant: Is the Mamba Motivated To Prove He’s Still the NBA’s Top Player?

In 2001 rapper Jay-Z released his classic "Blue-print" album, and within the tracks was the song "Takeover," which took direct verbal jabs at several other hip-hop artists.

Most prominent among those artists was Queensbridge native Nas, who just happened to be going through the most difficult period of his life.

Nas' mother was fighting a battle with cancer, a war she would eventually lose, and at the time of Jay-Z's attack Nas' attention was rightfully consumed by his personal situation.

But, Nas was unable to escape the rumors and whispers started by Jay-Z's lyrical barrage, as many people began to question whether or not there was truth in Jay-Z's music.

Silence from Nas seemed to confirm Jay-Z' assertions that he was washed up, and his career was basically over but in reality Nas had just been awakened from his slumber.

Most artists draw inspiration from pain and anguish, and the convergence of events for Nas birthed what is arguably the greatest battle-rap song ever recorded.

The track "Ether" on Nas' Stillmatic album took all the pain and anxiety of his mother's situation, and all the anger caused by Jay-Z's unwarranted attack and unleashed it in a brilliant and emotional response that was impressive for its depth.

Before "Ether" most battle raps were usually shallow and the insults were normally based on an opponent's physical appearance, or other generic qualities.

But, on "Ether" Nas' rhymes were laced with character-assassinating lyrics that forced Jay-Z to take a hard look at himself, and they contained a level of introspection that had never before been seen in the genre.

Jay-Z released several responses to "Ether" but by most accounts Nas won the battle with that song, and re-vitalized a dormant career in the process.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is not facing the same emotional turmoil that Nas endured, but his ca...

About the Author