During a recent appearance on Fat Joe's "The Art Of Dialogue" podcast, Irv Gotti revisited Jay-Z's early career and discussed a bit of history surrounding Jay, 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. Irv worked closely with Roc-A-Fella in those days and talked about Jay's friendly rivalry with B.I.G. and his not-so-friendly beef with Pac. When talking about how Jay and B.I.G. sparred, Gotti mentioned the 1996 track "Brooklyn's Finest," a collaboration with Biggie from Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z's debut album.
“So if you listen to ‘Brooklyn’s Finest,’ I want everyone to listen again,“ said Gotti. "So how the record was recorded was Big did his four bars, and then Jay did his four bars. This is just my opinion, I’m not speaking for Hov, but if you listen to that record [Jay] was getting at him. But I said, ‘Big is gonna sniff it out.’ And if you [listen] he sniffed it out, he was going right back at him.”
“That’s why Pac was shitting on Jay — because of ‘Brooklyn’s Finest,’ said Gotti. 2Pac famously called out Jay-Z at various points on his 1996 album Don Killuminati: The 7-Day Theory. The project was the final full album 2Pac completed prior to his death, released posthumously in October 1996 — just weeks after the rapper's murder.
"And Jay’s on the record with [Biggie]," Gotti continued, referring to "Brooklyn's Finest." "Now he’s like, ‘Fuck you, ain’t no nigga like me. Fuck Jay-Z!’ He started bombing on Jay. So Big was a mastermind and involved this real ill nigga in both the streets and the lyrics and kind of paired him with him.”
But Gotti wasn't crazy about the idea of Jay working with Biggie.
“I was dead set against it,” said Gotti. “I was telling Jay, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it’ and he was like, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘Big, he’s too strong. Before we take over the world, we gotta take over the West Coast. Before we take over the West Coast, we gotta take over the East Coast. Before we take over the East Coast, we gotta take over New York. Before we take over New York, you gotta take over Brooklyn and he owns all that.’ And I was like, ‘This nigga’s not a wack nigga.’ I was in fear like, ‘Yo, you may came off like his little man, you understand?‘”
*HEADER CREDIT: Jay-Z and Irv Gotti celebrate the 10th Anniversary of "Reasonable Doubt" - Inside at Rainbow Room in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)