Jay Z and Busta Rhymes both attended Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School and they’ve battled each other in the cafeteria. DMX and Notorious B.I.G are also famous alumni and they all attended school around the same time, Busta Rhymes and Biggie were born a day apart and Jay Z was two and half years older.
Over the years, Jay and Busta Rhymes have often reminisced about their teenage rapping rivalry during interviews. In a 2015 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Z mentioned that he once rap battled Busta in the lunch room. When Kimmel asked who won, Jay Z modestly shrugged and mouthed the word, “me.”
Busta Rhymes has actually spoken on this a few years back on MTV, and gave a more in-depth recap than Jay of how it happened.
“One day, somebody came up to me and was like, ’Yo, Hov is in the cafeteria.’ They weren’t calling him Hov at the time; they were calling him Jay. ’Do you want to step to him on some rhyme sh–?’ So I go. At the time, when we were rhyming, it was speed rap. That was the thing to do. I knew how to freak it, and he knew how to freak it. And at the time, he was so ill, ’cause of the people he was with at the time, Jaz-O and them, it was their thing [that style]. He kind of got the best of the situation. I got to give it up. He was so ill and his arsenal was so long that he had more than what I did. I spit my one rap, and my tank was empty real fast. He came with two or three after that, and I was like, ’Here we go.’ But I gave it my best.”
“That was probably the fist time that I lost a battle that mattered. Jay-Z always exemplified greatness as an MC. He was a scientist with it.”
In a different interview with Fuse
“I didn’t know Biggie rhymed in school ’cause in school we was cuttin’ a lot of class and we was smokin’ a lot of weed and bullshittin’,”
“I knew Jay Z was rhyming ’cause me and Jay Z battled in school, speed rapping. He had finessed the speed rapping phenomenally at that time and I was new with the speed rapping, but losing that battle to Jay in speed rapping is what made me one of the most dangerous speed rappers today … Jay know he can’t see me in no speed rapping today.”
Watch Busta Rhymes explain how it went down.