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For the City: A Look Inside Fat Joe & Jay Z's Fuzzy History

Looking back at the long road that led to Joey Crack and Jay Z's historic collab.

Fat Joe // Instagram

As the saying goes, controversy sells. So, with that said, it was no surprise that besides how huge of a moment this was for rap fans—Fat Joe uniting with Jay Z (for the first time ever) on the official remix of "All The Way Up" with Remy Ma—what went on to rock the world was a flippant reference to his wife Beyonce's Lemonade.

Flipping a classic line by the late Guru, Jay pacifies the gossip columns, rapping, "You know you made it when the fact your marriage made it is worth millions/ Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is." While the "Lemonade" line was enough to generate news headlines, real rap fans saw the bigger picture.

Controversy removed, the most poignant verse on the "All The Way Up" remix begins with Fat Joe's opening line: "This wasn't me, this was God's doing... They ain't wanna see the Squad and the Roc." As anyone who has been following the history between these two, the biggest takeaway from this entire remix is the fact that the world can now say a Fat Joe and Jay Z collaboration happened. For decades, the two New York giants have been embroiled in one of the most low-profile feuds in rap history.

As the rap history books tell it, this all started during an otherwise blurry evening at New York City's late '90s hotspot Club Carbon (now Terminal 5). Reports remain fuzzy but, as the story goes, Fat Joe and Big Pun's Terror Squad clashed with Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella Records at the club. At the time, both crews reigned supreme, both in rap and the streets. As far as what led to the altercation, most of the details out there are speculation. There are reports of a bottle being thrown and striking someone from the Terror Squad camp, while others claim a gun and knife were pulled on one of the Roc-A-Fella associates.

All in all, a brawl ensued that night leaving static thick in the Big Apple. In a 2013 interview, former Terror Squad member Cuban Link, who was one of the few present that night, confirmed the clash between the camps, but revealing that it was Memphis Bleek, not Jay Z, who was with the Roc team at the club.

Link said, "People got it twisted with that. It was two altercations with Jay Z. That one—the club—was a whole different thing. Jay Z wasn't even there ... That time it was Bleek. Bleek rocked somebody [from Terror Squad] with a bottle... Ni—as came back to the VIP bleeding and then after that, [we] got it popping. Ni—as started chasing the whole Roc-A-Fella."

After that night, several subliminal and overt diss tracks were thrown back and forth by both camps, including one in particular by Sauce Money, which appeared on a DJ Whoo Kid-hosted mixtape. In an interview conducted years later, Whoo Kid revealed that Big Pun, and a few gun-toting friends, pressed him about putting out the record: "What I've learned is Big Pun was the real gangster out of the whole Terror Squad shit." Whoo Kid added, "There's a reason why their name was Terror Squad. Pun really went out there and did the shit… After they met me, Pun ran up in Roc-A-Fella's offices and did his thing."

Other in-rhyme taps (and jabs: see above) sprung out since the incident, including records like Pun's "100%," in which he raps: "The Desert or the shottie, whatever, you the body/ That chose to be the dumb ni—a at the party/ Too much Bacardi, started speakin' dumb/ Then you tried to snuff Joe, must have been Puerto Rican rum."

Years after Pun's passing, the back-and-forth ensued between Joe and Hov—on the court and on wax. In 2003, the two went head-to-head on the court at Rucker Park, one of the most legendary street basketball courts in the Big Apple, with their respective basketball teams, S. Carter vs. Terror Squad, in what would become one of the most infamous tournaments in EBC history. Joe's team claimed victory over Jay's due to a blackout that forced the game date to be pushed back.

Hov, who had players like LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, and John "Franchise" Strickland (the man responsible for the "Eat your breakfast" line from Jay's "Public Service Announcement") set to play, couldn't make it on the rescheduled date, thus leaving him to forfeit, and prompting Joe to reveal in a documentary about the said-tournament: "You know me and Jay Z, we infamous for taking shots at each other. We infamous for taking little jabs at each other."

Joe would further comment on the moment for his own song "Lean Back," closing out the last verse with: "My ni—as didn't have to play to win the championship, come on!" A year later, Jay would slyly throw a subliminal back on Kanye West's "Diamonds (Remix)," replying with, "The pressure's on, but guess who ain't gon' 'Crack'/ pardon me, I had to laugh at it."

After years of this behind-the-scenes tug of war, both sides have since come to a truce that has given the Big City a rap dream come true. "It had to happen," Joe told Billboard this week of the Hov collaboration. "It was something on my bucket list forever. God blessed us and it came true. I couldn't sleep this morning because I'm so happy for the people."

With that, the New York giants came and delivered. More than just a 'Jay response to Lemonade,' this is a monumental moment. This is God's doing—along with some help from Memphis Bleek and N.O.R.E.

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