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Black Facts for December 11th

2001 - Jay Z vs. Nas: The Story Behind the Beef

The Jay Z vs. Nas beef was a gladiatorial battle between two rap titans. For almost a decade, two of rap"s most decorated emcees went at each other"s throat. They started off with subliminal jabs and moved up to body shots. Fans cheered on. Crews got in the mix. Digs got so personal that parents had to step in. Thankfully, the battle didn"t end in tragedy like Biggie vs. 2Pac. It ended in triumph. And friendship. Jay Z and Nas would later shake hands and join forces.

Let"s backtrack to an earlier time when Jay Z and Nas vied for New York supremacy in one of the greatest hip-hop battles of all time.

"Lex with TV sets the minimum"

The year is 1996. Nas is one of the hottest MCs in the country, thanks to his debut, Illmatic, released a couple years earlier. Word on the street is that Nas was supposed to appear on Reasonable Doubt, but he never showed up to record his verse for "Bring It On." In the absence of the real deal himself, producer Ski Beatz samples a Nas line from "The World is Yours" (Pete Rock remix) on another Jay Z song, "Dead Presidents II." Arguably Jay Z"s best song, "Dead Presidents II" prominently features the line "I"m out for presidents to represent me." Reasonable Doubt hit shelves in June "96.

Nas" second album, It Was Written, arrived a month later. The album opener "The Message" includes the first of many perceived subliminal shots at Jay Z: "Lex with TV sets the minimum." What does this line have to do with the Brooklyn rapper? Well, Jay Z"s first album sports several references to Lexus. Recall that Jay likened his mind to a Lexus on "Can I Live" ("My mind is infested, with sick thoughts that circle like a Lexus"). Plus, his "Dead Presidents II" video shows off a sweet Lexus GS.

Nas later confirmed that Jay Z inspired that line, telling Complex:

"I saw Jay Z driving a Lexus with the TVs in them. I got rid of my Lexus at that point and I was looking for the next best thing. It wasn’t a shot at Jay but it was just saying that’s the minimum you gotta have. It’s not a shot at him but he

Facts About Women

1973 - Mos Def

The renowned actor and rapper, Mos Def is widely known for his hip hop songs that depict a social themes and consciousness. Fans also identify his memorable performances in Hollywood flicks such as Guide to the Galaxy, The Italian Job and Monster’s Ball.

Although commonly known as Mos Def, the rapper cum actor’s actual name is Dante Smith. Def was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 11, 1973. He belonged to a large family of 12 siblings that included step brothers and sisters. While Mos Def grew up with his mother along with several other children, some of his other siblings lived and grew up with their father. Growing up in the New York of 1980s, Mos Def was exposed to a lot of incidents of violence, crime and also addiction. However, instead of adapting the bad from this environment, Mos Def was keen on framing out a better future for himself. He wanted to be good and do well. He worked hard to steer his life away from drugs and violence aiming towards his passion, arts. By the time, he was 9, he had developed a liking for the hip hop genre of music and theatre. His first acting performance was in a school play while he was in grade 5. Later, he enrolled in Phillipa Schuyler Middle School, a performing arts institution. He then moved on to another similar school, Talent Unlimited High School. He landed his first real acting job during his freshman year in the TV movie God Bless the Child. Soon after Mos Def obtained more roles including the series, You Take the Kids and The Cosby Mysteries.  It was also during this time that Mos Def was introduced to the New York hip hop scene.

In 1997, Mos Def released his first solo single, Universal Magnet that instantly became an underground hit. The single also helped him gain a record deal with Rawkus Records. He then collaborated with Talib Kweli and produced the most critically acclaimed rap album of the year. A year later, Mos Def released his own debut solo album that made him an overnight star. His most famous singles were Mathematics and Ms. Fat Body. People

1967 - Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique is a renowned contemporary African American actress, comedian, talk show host and author. She is best known for her role in the UPN series The Parkers as Nikki Parker. Moreover, she has hosted a number of shows as a stand-up comedian like Showtime at the Apollo. Later in her professional career, she headed toward more serious acting in films and garnered praise for her astonishing work.

Monique Angela Hicks was born on December 11, 1967, in Baltimore, Maryland to drug counselor Steven Imes Jr. and Alice Imes, an engineer by professor. She was the youngest in the family, who was abused by her brother Gerald in her childhood. Despite being subjected to abusive treatment, Mo’Nique made it to Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County. Afterwards, she attended Morgan State University and the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland from which she graduated with the class of 1987. Upon her graduation, she went on to work for the phone company MCI in Hunt Valley as a customer service representative.

Mo’Nique stepped into the entertainment industry inadvertently, as her brother Steve dared her to perform at Baltimore Comedy Factory Outlet during an open mic night. Henceforth, she hosted numerous venues as a stand-up comedian, such as Thank God You’re Here and Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam. In 1999, she landed a role in the UPN television series The Parkers. She is hosted and produced, a beauty pageant for plus-sized women, Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance. Her other television works include hosting of the first season of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, which on-aired on VH1. She also made a guest-appearance in the popular TV series, Ugly Betty.

Mo’Nique is credited for her work on a television documentary, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate!, the documentary centers on the incarcerated women, featuring individual interviews with these women. It also explores the common factors that bring women to such state. In 2009, she created her own late-night talk show, The Mo’Nique Show. After hosting a series of television shows,

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