Ether (song)

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Song by Nas
from the album Stillmatic
ReleasedDecember 4, 2001
Producer(s)Ron Browz

"Ether" is a song by hip hop recording artist Nas, from his 2001 album Stillmatic. The song was a response to Jay-Z's "Takeover", a diss track directed towards Nas and Prodigy.

Nas named the song Ether stating, "I was told a long time ago, ghosts and spirits don't like the fumes from ether, and I just wanted to affect him with my weapon and get to his soul." Ether has been called a "classic" diss track[1] and the "wildest" in hip hop history by music publications.[2]


After Ether was first played on radio, JAY-Z responded with 3 tracks. The first one being “People Talkin’” in November 18, 2001 in which he says Nas’ rhymes. Jay followed that up with 2 tracks in which he sent to Funkmaster Flex which was first “Don’t You Know” and the first verse went straight at Nas but because of the negative comments the first verse was later removed. JAY Z released Supa Ugly in December 11, 2001 in which he also disses Nas’ baby mother Carmen Bryan and mentions their daughter Destiny Jones. Those lines went too far and JAY-Z’ mother Gloria Carter demanded he apologize to every woman he disrespected. Then a week later Nas releases Stillmatic and responds to all of JAY-Z’ disses with “You’re da Man” and “Destroy & Rebuild” then a day later Nas was interviewed by Funk Flex about Stillmatic, Cam’ron and JAY-Z. Then JAY-Z releases The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse in November 12, 2002 he disses Nas & Jungle (Nas’ brother) and criticizes “Oochie Wally” and “You Owe Me a month later on December 13, 2002 Nas releases God's Son and on “Made You Look” and “Last Real Nigga Alive” and those songs marked the end of the disses between Nas & JAY-Z.


Jay-Z dismissed Nas as a has-been on the diss track "Takeover". Nas responds to Jay's claims by rapping, "I got this, locked since Nine-One (1991), I am the truest/ Name a rapper that I ain't influenced." The song contains numerous slurs directed at Jay-Z: "When these streets keep calling, heard it when I was asleep/ That this Gay-Z and Cock-A-Fella Records wanted beef", "Then you got the nerve to say that you're better than Big/ Dick-suckin' lips, why don't you let the late great veteran live", "You a dick-ridin' faggot, you love the attention/ Queens niggas run you niggas, ask Russell Simmons" and "Put it together/ I rock hos; y'all rock fellas."

Nas also attacks Jay-Z's street cred, claiming, "In '88, you was gettin' chased to your buildin'/ Callin' my crib, and I ain't even give you my numbers/ All I did was give you a style for you to run with." He also accuses Jay of selling out, "Y'all niggas deal with emotions like bitches/ What's sad is I love you cause you're my brother, you traded your soul for riches." Nas also criticized him for copying KRS-One ideas on the name of Jay-Z's current album at the time, The Blueprint, which was quite similar to the Boogie-Down Production's album, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop, with the line "KRS already made an album called Blueprint." He had lines calling Jay unattractive and accusing him of misogyny, as well as having an affair with Foxy Brown in the late 1990s (which she would confirm years later in her track "Let em Know") rapping, "You seem to be only concerned with dissin' women/ Were you abused as a child, scared to smile, they called you ugly?" and "Foxy kept you hot, kept your face in her puss/ What you think you gettin' girls now because of your looks?", "started cocking up my weapon slowly loading up this ammo to explode it on a Camel and his soldiers I can handle ". He also accuses Jay of brown-nosing other rappers for fame: "Your ass went from Jaz to hangin' with Kane, to Irv to Big/ And, Eminem murdered you on your own shit./ You a dick-ridin' faggot. You love the attention" Not only does he criticize the usage of other rappers' influence for increased fame, he mentions that Eminem outshined him on his song, "Renegade". Finally, Nas insults Jay-Z's biting of Big's lyrics claiming that Jay-Z stole his rhyming skills off Biggie, "How much of Biggie's rhymes gonna come out your fat lips?". The intro of Ether starts with gunshots from Notorious B.I.G.'s Who Shot Ya?, immediatelly followed by a Screwed voice of 2Pac saying "Fuck Jay-Z", originally taken from the song "Fuck Friendz". In the outro of "Ether", Nas mocks the chorus of "Takeover", which Jay-Z raps "R-O-C, we runnin' this rap shit", Nas changes it to "R-O-C, get gunned up and clapped quick" and so on.

In an interview with This is 50, Large Professor stated the original version of Ether was produced by Swizz Beatz and the lyrical content contained in the original version was much more offensive, which even contained a line where Nas raps, "It should've been you in that plane crash", referring to the infamous plane crash that caused the death of American singer Aaliyah, which occurred earlier the same year Stillmatic was released and during the time that the Jay-Z vs. Nas feud started up.


Jay-Z's "Supa Ugly" marked the "official" end of the battle, although references to the beef can be found on Nas' "Last Real Nigga Alive" from God's Son, "U Wanna Be Me" from 8 Mile and "Everybody's Crazy" from The Lost Tapes, and Jay-Z's "Blueprint 2" from The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse album.

The Jay-Z vs. Nas feud was beneficial to both men's careers. Stillmatic and "Ether" had marked the reemergence of Nas to the hip hop scene two years after having released Nastradamus, considered by many fans and critics to have been the weakest album in his discography. Many fans still credit the feud with resurrecting Nas' career; while he has not matched the commercial success of It Was Written or I Am..., his work since Stillmatic has been better received critically. The battle also boosted Jay-Z's career, giving him much notoriety for having the bravado to attack a respected rapper such as Nas. The feud (or "beef") between the two rappers has since been reconciled, and they have gone on to collaborate on the song "Black Republican", from Nas's 2006 album Hip Hop is Dead, "Success", from Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster, "I Do It For Hip Hop" from Ludacris' 2008 album Theater of the Mind and "BBC" from Jay-Z's 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail.


When [Funkmaster] Flex played it, I ain’t going to lie, I admitted to myself and had to tell the big homey he got us, he got one up on us. That shit was cooked crack cocaine right there. Like it was no denying that record was hot as fuck, it was a bunch of lies on that record, but it was still a hot record. One that is going down in history, you know what I mean.

Memphis Bleek, recounting the reaction felt to Ether 2007[3]

"Ether" has been cited as a "classic" diss track[4] and the "wildest" in hip hop history by music publications.[5] When asked to name his favorite rap battle, Papoose pointed to the feud between Jay-Z and Nas, citing the release Ether as one of the decisive moments of the affair: "That's one of the great battles, there's other ones too though, in hip-hop history. I can go on and on, but that's one that stands out...It wasn't an age thing but a lot of people were sleeping. Like, 'It's over! Jay-Z killed him!' I was like, 'Aight, watch.' I knew it was coming, man." (Hot 93.7)[6] In another interview, Jadakiss claims, "'Ether' sits on the mantle when it comes to battle songs. From the production, to the way he formatted it, to what he was saying – he touched everything. It was an A-Plus grade." Due to the popularity of the song, Ron Browz, who produced the song, went on to nickname himself Etherboy.

Shortly after Nas released the song, the word "ether" entered the hip hop lexicon as a slang expression synonymous with ruthlessness – meaning to harshly humiliate an opponent. “To 'ether' someone," writes Son Raw, "means to completely dismantle them in a rap battle with no regard for petty concerns such as 'logic' or 'cleverness' – it’s a giant shock-n-awe display of machismo meant to scar the victim for life and leave an unmistakable blemish on his career."[7] In addition, the song itself helped to popularized the term "stan" as a pejorative term (which originally referenced Eminem's 2000 hit single, denoting an obsessive fan.)[8]

Ether has also been referenced and sampled by rappers who have sought to stylize their own diss recordings along similar lines of severity, including Game, Joe Budden, Saigon, Shyne, and Joey Bada$$ among others. Eminem took the sample of "Ether" and used it in Xzibit's song "My Name", featuring Nate Dogg, which was a diss song to Jermaine Dupri. Jin used the instrumental of the song to diss Rosie O'Donnell. In 2012, Cassidy, alluded to the song in his threat against Meek Mill, "If I do a diss record, it's going to be on the 'Ether' level if not worse." Cassidy went on to record a song against Mill titled R.A.I.D. which samples and quotes segments of Ether.

Remy Ma also used the instrumentals for her own diss track titled "Shether" aimed at Nicki Minaj which was released on February 25, 2017.[9]

See also[edit]


  2. ^ "The 10 Wildest Rap Beefs of All Time".
  3. ^ "BLEEK ON ETHER:"IT WAS A GLOOMY DAY"". Allhiphop. February 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  5. ^ "The 10 Wildest Rap Beefs of All Time".
  6. ^ "Papoose Says Nas Annihilated Jay-Z W/ 'Ether' Diss, "That Was Decapitation" [Video] –". 17 January 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  7. ^ "The 25 Greatest Outdated Rap Slang Words". Passionweiss. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Nas Remembers the Making of Stillmatic & Hip Hop Is Dead – XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Twitter Is Losing It Over Remy Ma's "shETHER"". The Fader. Retrieved 25 February 2017.

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