Sibling Rivalry: Jay-Z & Kanye West

08.02.09 8 years ago 143 Comments


Without a fancy intro or provocative thesis statement, simply put, Jay and ‘Ye have been going at each other’s throats for the better part of a decade. Their latest project didn’t help calm the debate either. Similar to how I’ve done in the past, I’ve taken the liberty to flashback and examine their rich and competitive lyrical history.

For the record, the only songs considered valid were records they’ve appeared on together (with one exception). Anyway, let’s talking, more research. Without further adieu, bring on the debate.



Jay-Z Feat. Kanye West – “Girls, Girls, Girls” (Remix)


Jay’s Quotables: “She call me professor, say ‘Daddy come and test us’/ So she can fail on purpose and repeat the semester/ I’m like, ‘At this rate ma, you’ll never graduate’/ She said, ‘I ain’t no fool, I’ll make it up in summer school…'”

Kanye’s Quotables: “You remind me of my jeep but not Nokia/ We can talk on my cell but not Nokia/ It be goin’ in and out that’s why i barely hear ya/ It be goin’ in and out like a robberia/ I’m tryna take dis money like Rob and Gia/ And I’m a take you to my house like Trick and Trina…”

Synopsis: It wasn’t an official remix, but best believe if Kanye made the beat,  you know he had to have verses on it. His offering was catchy as all hell, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who did this track more justice than Jay.

Jay-Z -1
Kanye – 0

Jay-Z Feat. Kanye West – “Excuse Me Miss Again”


Jay: “He patterns hisself the rap J.F.K., you wanna pass for my Jacqueline Onassis?/ Then, hop ya ass outta that S-Class/ Lay back in that Maybach, roll the best grass/ I ask/ Have you in your long-legged life ever seen a watch surrounded by this much pink ice?”

Kanye: “So you take the Destiny Child girl in the Coupe/ And I’ma try bag the ones that got kicked out the group/ I figured that’ll be simple, I’ll just help ’em with their demo/ Help ’em to the limo, play the I’m Good instrumentals/ And she – grabbed my tattoo, peeped my credentials/ And she – grabbed my pants, felt the potential/ And I – brought ’bout every essential/ To have fun breakin’ her fundamentals…”

Synopsis: I always wanted this to be over the original “Excuse Me Miss” instrumental. Yet and still, as much as I loved “La, La, La”, that Kanye line was just too sick to ignore.

Kanye -1

Jay-Z Feat. Kanye West – “The Bounce” (from The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse)


Jay: “Rumor has it, The Blueprint classic/ Couldn’t even been stopped by Bin Laden/ So September 11th marks the era forever of the revolutionary Jay Guevara…”

Kanye: “Did ‘Takeover’, do you got beef with Nas?/ I did take over the game, brought back the soul/ Got tracks to go, got plaques that’s sold/ Platinum and gold, yeah that’s the flow…”

Synopsis: Two years after providing the framework for the original Blueprint, ‘Ye gets his first mainstream opportunity to go bar for bar with Jay on the second installment. While Jay’s intro bars were nothing short of amazing, there aren’t many artists who’ve outshined Hov, let alone a newcomer. Kanye can say both.

Jay-Z – 1
Kanye – 2


Talib Kweli Feat. Mos Def, Jay-Z, Kanye West & Busta Rhymes- “Get By” (Remix)


Jay: “Just to get by nigga I sold dope/ Nigga I pushed lah/ Carried a fo-five, claimed I was ‘Ready To Die’/ Promised never to cry, held it all inside…”

Kanye: “Lord willin’ I ain’t killed nobody/ But I have a feeling with this album that I’m gonna make a killin’/ Or not a schilling, this is love it or hate it music/ But…at least we made it music/ And we didn’t make it industry/ This is gon’ be interesting/ This’ll be the end of me or I’m going to be an entity…”

Synopsis: For as dope as Jay’s verse was, Kanye’s was prophetic. Pretty much everything he said has come true. I feel bad for Talib, however. No one ever quotes his verse.

Jay-Z – 1
Kanye – 3


Kanye West Feat. Jay-Z & J-Ivy “Never Let Me Down” (from The College Dropout)


Jay: “Young, the archbishop/ The Pope John Paul of y’all niggas the way y’all all follow Jigga/ Hov’s a living legend and I tell you why/ Everybody wanna be Hov/ And Hov still alive…”

Kanye: “I get down for my grandfather who took my mama/ Made her sit in that seat where white folks ain’t want us to eat/ At the tender age of six, she was arrested for the sit-ins/ And with that in my blood, I was born to be different…”

Synopsis: While it was painfully difficult to pick against Kanye considering his subject matter, Jay was just too much to ignore.

Jay-Z – 2
Kanye – 3


Kanye West Feat. Jay-Z – “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” (from Late Registration)


Jay: “How could you falter when you’re the Rock of Gibraltar/ I had to get off the boat so I can walk on water/ This ain’t no tall order, this is nothin’ to me/ Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week…”

Kanye: “People askin’ me is I’m gon’ give my chain back/ That’ll be the same day I give the game back/ You know the next question, ‘Dog yo, where Dame at?”

Synopsis: The sad thing is, Kanye’s verse was hot, but Jay stole the show, the song and the acclaim thereafter with his. ‘Ye, himself, went on to confirm it on “Big Brother.” What was the lesson in all this you ask? 1) Even in “retirement,” Jay was NOT to be fucked with and 2) Bleek was officially awarded his “full scholarship” on life. Kick back young man, it’s green pastures from here.

Jay-Z – 3
Kanye – 3



Young Jeezy Feat. Kanye West – “Put On” (from The Recession)


Young Jeezy Feat. Jay-Z – “Put On” (Remix) (from The Recession)


Jay: “I put Mike Jack on stage, Summer Jam ‘Billie Jean’/ I put Prodigy in his place on that Summer Jam screen/ I put ‘Preme in my truck, told him leave them streets alone/ I predicted jail would happen, shit I tried to put him on/ All these niggas takin’ credit for the work that I put in/ If you really put me on, put yo’ self on then…”

Kanye: “I feel like it’s still niggas that owe me checks/ I feel like it’s still bitches that owe me sex/ I feel like these butt niggas don’t know this stress/ I lost the only girl in the world that know me best…”

Synopsis: Here’s the exception I was referring to. I know this selection is going to ruffle quite a few feathers, but Jay gets the vote by THIS much. With that said, I think we’ve all wanted ‘at least one of Russell’s neices’ at some point.

Jay-Z – 4
Kanye – 3

T.I. Feat. Kanye West, Jay-Z & Lil Wayne – “Swagger Like Us” (from Paper Trail)


Jay: “But I can’t teach you my swag, you can pay for school but you can’t buy class/ School of Hard Knocks, I’m a grad/ And that all blue Yankee is my graduation cap…”

Kanye: “My attitude is tattooed/ That means it’s permanent, so I guess we should address it (huh)/ My swagger is Mick Jagger/ Everytime I breathe on the track, I asthma attack it…”

Synopsis: In hindsight, they were both battling for second since T.I. had the best showing. Kanye wins because of Jay’s brief stint into singing towards the end of his verse.

Jay-Z – 4
Kanye -4


DJ Khaled Feat. Jay-Z, T-Pain & Kanye West – “Go Hard” (Remix)


Jay: “On dark nights, it’s like I see better/ On ‘Dark Knight’s’ I’m like Heath Ledger/ Even if I overdose on drugs motherfuckers can’t kill my buzz…”

Kanye: “I’m a tell you like George Bush told me/ Fuck y’all niggas I’m outta here…”

Synopsis: Jay proclaimed he would go harder than “bay bro” and an argument can be made he did. On this record, however, Jay was Johnny Drama while ‘Ye served as Vinnie Chase.

Jay-Z – 4
Kanye – 5

Jay-Z Feat. Rihanna & Kanye West – “Run This Town” (from The Blueprint³)


Jay: “And they ain’t spendin’ no cake/ They should throw they hand in cause they ain’t got no spades/ My whole team got dough/ So my bankhead is lookin’ like “Millionaire’s Row…”

Kanye: “We give a damn about the drama that you do bring/ I’m just tryin change the color of your mood ring/ Reebok baby? You need to try some new things/ Have you ever had shoes without shoe strings?/ What’s that Ye? Baby these heels/ Is that a May…Whattt?/ Baby these wheels/ You trippin’ when you ain’t sippin’, have a refill/ You feel like you running huh? Now you know how we feel…”

Synopsis: The most lopsided of the entire bunch. Sorry if that was anti-climatic.

Jay-Z – 4
Kanye – 6

So, there it is. What’s your take? 6-4 Jay? 7-3 Kanye? Whatever your tally amounts to, one thing’s for sure. It won’t be easy.

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