‘Nas Ran Up Out of There and Wrote Ether’: Resurfaced Clip of Nas Auditioning for Cam’ron’s Role In ‘Paid In Full’ Has Fans Revisiting His Beef with Jay-Z

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A video has resurfaced online showing rapper Nas auditioning for the 2002 cult classic film “Paid in Full.”

For his second movie role after “Belly,” Nas went up for the role of Alpo, whose name was later changed to Rico.

As most know, the role ended up going to another New York rapper, Cam’ron, and some fans believe it was the right decision. Nas has also appeared in films like “In Too Deep” and “Monster,” but fans prefer his musical gifts over his acting skills.

After watching the old clip, one fan said, “He’s a horrible actor. He doesn’t know how to not be Nas lol.” Another person said that his portrayal of his character Sincere in “Belly” should have told casting directors and producers to stay away from the “If I Ruled the World” rapper.

Nas' audition for "Paid in Full" has fans questioning why he went out for the role due to his beef with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella.
Nas’ audition for “Paid in Full” has fans questioning why he went out for the role due to his beef with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella. (Photos: @nas/Instagram, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Other fans wondered why the Crown Heights, Brooklyn, native even went out for the role. “Paid in Full” and the film’s soundtrack were produced by Roc-A-Fella’s co-founders Damon “Dame” Dash and Jay-Z. During the preproduction of the movie, Nas was in a heated beef with the record label and its main artist.

Beyoncé’s husband’s problem with Nas is said to have started in ’96 after Nas was a no-show at a recording session for the track “Bring It On” from Jay-Z’s debut album, “Reasonable Doubt.”

A month after Hov’s release, Nas dropped his album “It Was Written,” where he said, “Lex with TV sets the minimum,” on the song called, “The Message.” Many viewed this as him taking a shot at Jay-Z due to his many references to the luxury car.

Nas and Jay-Z continued to send subtle shots back and forth until Jay-Z’s prodigy, Memphis Bleek, decided to join the beef and call out the “Illmatic” rapper. Nas and Bleek had their own beef, and Nas ended up dissing the whole Roc-A-Fella crew on his “Stillmatic (Freestyle)” in 2001.

2001 was the biggest year of Jay-Z and Nas’ beef, and it was around the same time that the movie was cast. Some fans argued that Nas never had a shot at the role.

One commenter said, “Was he ever gonna hire Nas considering him and Jay had static? Or was they cool back then,” to which someone else answered, “They were never cool.” Another person wrote, “I know Dame Dash was dying laughing in Nas’ face. Nas ran up out of there and went home and wrote ‘Ether.’”

That commenter wasn’t far off, as Nas dropped the infamous diss track, “Ether,” on December 4, 2001, which also happened to be the date of Jay-Z’s 32nd birthday.

The “What More Can I Say” rapper didn’t stay, quiet as he released his comeback track “Supa Ugly” seven days later. The track allegedly was so bad that after it played on Hot 97 Hov’s mother Gloria Carter called in and told Jay-Z to apologize.

From there, the beef simmered down as both New York legends sent parting shots. In 2005, the almost decade-old rivalry ended as the rappers performed onstage together during Jay-Z’s “I Declare War” tour.

Watch the Full Video Here.

During the tour, Jay-Z said, “All that beef s—t is done, we had our fun.” The two have collaborated on a couple of songs since then, but some people think that there still might be a bit of a rivalry between the two, noting that in 2018 they both dropped competing albums. This wasn’t the first time that they had done so, as in ’01, ’04, ’07, and ’19 they released albums on the exact same day.

In November 2022, Nas jokingly hinted that there still might be some lingering animosity between the old rivals. In his song “Thun,” Nas rhymed, “In a Range Rover, dissecting bars from ‘Takeover’/ Sometimes I text Hova like, ‘N—a, this ain’t over,’ laughing.”