What’s all the beef about? YZ, the original 50 Cent of beef! Part I
My big homie Mr. Reveron said he wanted me to blog for Rockers because of my extensive background in authentic, classic, underground Hip-Hop, go fig but I can run with that. He also told me to write about whatever I wanted to but hey if you want me to open up the vault damn it I’ll open up the vault, lol. Anyway, this lead me to dig back into my memory bank and think about a time when cats beefed on wax and it wasn’t just to get a name or for hype but because whoever was the beef-er or the beefy really felt the other cat was really trying to test his skills, play him and his manhood. Just think back to LL. Cool J and Moe Dee they were heated exchanges not just for the fans but to really prove who was better emcee. KRS & The Juice Crew or as I like to call it Nas vs Rocafella these we’re classic bouts of verbal dexterity that ended but with a clear possible everlasting rematch at anytime and no one got shot or killed in the process. Shit I remember seeing Mr. Parker on the same stage as the Juice Crew at the height of the beef both performing their dis records and we ate it up.
Enter a Garden State Warrior and new jack with two certified classics under his belt at the time “In Control of Things” & “Thinking of a Master Plan”. My big homie Anthony “YZ” Hill from a small town called Hightstown/East Windsor, Central New Jeruz was ahead of his time then (and now) and making a name for himself in the late 80′s & early 90′s. In the late 80′s he classed hard with one of my fav emcees of all time fellow veteran Jersey emcee Mr. Talented Timothy Taylor himself the undeniable Wise Intelligent. Their beef stemmed from YZ’s shady biz partner & manager this cat named Tim Baylor who at the time Wise and his group Poor Righteous Teachers showed no respect for him on the classic joint “Style Dropped/Lesson Taught” off their incredible debut album Holy Intellect. Reason being was they were once signed to Tim & YZ’s indi label Rockin Hard Records. Once the label gave PRT a release it didn’t take long before they started assassinating Baylor’s character on wax and in the streets of Trenton and throwing cheap shots at Z like the line “to hell with YZ & the ESD Posse” on “Strictly Ghetto“. Now YZ being the loyal fellow he is couldn’t let his partner get played or have Wise bad mouthing him and his team. So with some coaxing from his producer one of the most underrated in Hip-Hop Tony “D” Depula (RIP, we miss you big bro) who just so happened to produce for PRT as well Z struck back with a vengeance on the classic Dis fe Liar and the beef began.
Now it didn’t take long for Z to see what type of person Tim was at the time. I’m not sure of his ways now but I do recall back then me having to slide a glass ashtray across his forehead at a hotel in H-Town when he shorted big bro out of some bread from some shows we had done but hey that was then. Anyway, after returning from TX he wanted to squash any beef left with PRT but had a weapon of mass destruction in the chamber. The remix to “Dis Fe Liar” hysterically titled ”Crocodile Dundee” since he thought Mr. Wise resembled a lizard so I guess that made him Paul Hogan.
I remember him calling me early one morning and saying he was coming to pick me up to take a ride with him. When I got in the car and we drove off he said we were going to “Divine Land” the projects PRT called home to meet with them. At the time I was wild and never backed down from a confrontation but it was just he and I probably weighing all of 275 lbs total with no heat rolling up in probably one of the worst projects in Jersey at that time. Known for killing and rumors of so called Righteous cats throwing dudes off the roof of the building just because they didn’t know there 1 to 10 aka Student Enrollment but I digress. So of course I’m spooked but not showing it at all and hella focused. We pull up to this abandoned looking house across the street from the projects. We walk in and we’re greeted by their DJ Shaheed I believe. We go up these dark stairs and he’s not really saying much so it’s hard to make out what the mood upstair is or even who’s upstairs. We finally get to the 3rd floor of this house and it’s a studio but not a really nice one just a makeshift one that I’m guessing they did their pre-pro. In the studio was their manager at the time who’s name I can’t recall, Culture Freedom who seemed really upset that we were there and Mr. Wise. Culture kept walking slowly back and forth, it made me nervous but I was stone face and wasn’t going to give them anything and Z was the same. I believe Wise started the conversation off by asking about the new record Crocodile Dundee because I’m sure Tony (RIP) told them about it or already let them hear it. Z assured him that there was a dis but did let them know that he didn’t want to keep going at it. That the beef with Tim was old and he really had nothing to do with it. Then big homie did what I never in a million years wouldn’ve thought he’d do and wouldn’t have come had I known what he was going to do… He pulled out a CD with the dis record! First thing that happened was Culture’s face dropped, Wise was visibly heated but definitely curious to hear the record. Their manager didn’t say much just sat in a chair with shades on kind of out of it and their DJ Shaheed bust out laughing. That’s right, he was laughing his ass off. I mean, the tension was so thick you could use it as syrup on some flapjack and dude busts out laughing. I think because he knew what I knew was going to happen next. YZ then says “do yawl want to hear it?”. I can’t remember if Culture left then or after he played but homie had to split or it was gong to pop off but Wise wanted to here it so Z played it.
The entire song is him pretty much having fun with Wise’s tip-toe type style of rhyming that he was famous for back then and Z just danced on the classic Tony D (RIP) track like Ali in his prime throwing jab after jab. Line’s like “don’t try fe step or else it’s time to say peace” and “the poor righteous try-ers, teachers, please”. All I remember is Shaheed laughing all the way through it and when the record finally stopped which seemed like an eternity YZ saying something like let’s let it end here. Might not have been that prolific but you get the gist. We made our way back down the stairs once again and out of the house back into his blue and white 98 Olds and headed back to the burbs. Truly an epic moment in Hip-Hop beef history and definitely something I will always remember.
On part II I’ll break down YZ’s beef with the Flavor Unit namely Treach of Naughty by Nature and our run in with Dj Premier of Gangstar (RIP GURU) & Mister Cee (Big Daddy Kane) at the New Music Seminar back in 1990 or maybe it was 91. Shit that was almost 20 years ago I can’t remember everything but you’ll understand why I say he was the 50 of back in the day beef. Until next time… Cheers!
For the latest YZ new check out http://therealyz.wordpress.com
CLASSIC YZ VIDEOS
IN CONTROL OF THINGS (Little know Hip-Hop fact. Written by yours truly)
TOWER WITH THE POWER (Check ya boy out and big bro Pum Sweet Love)
THINKING OF A MASTER PLAN
RETURN OF THE HOLY ONE