Jay Von - Big L x Jay-Z Freestyle

The latest Friday Night Freestyle from Jay-Von comes with a bit of a history lesson.

Some of you may remember Stretch and Bobbito, who held down the New York radio scene back in the ’90s on Power 105. One night during their show, in 1995, Stretch and Bobbito would invite to the studio two young men seeking to make a name for themselves. The first was Big L, an emerging emcee who commanded a strong underground following; and a then-relative unknown by the name of Jay-Z, not nearly as well-known nor as skilled at the time, but talented enough to have appeared alongside Big Daddy Kane at concerts and on wax. A beat was set out and the two traded bars for seven minutes.

“Hov was at a point where he was leaving behind his signature rapid-fire flow,” Jay-Von recounts. “So he tries on a slow flow instead. This is the last time the world would EVER hear Hov rap this way.”

“Big L x Jay-Z Freestyle” is the Mo. City rapper attempting to mimic both emcees: Big L, the gritty street poet; and Jay-Z, before Reasonable Doubt, who was still experimenting with rhyme scheme but far from a joke. DJ Mosama is once more is on the beat, resurrecting the horns and thudding piano keys. That allows Jay-Von to drop Easter Egg-esque references and comical quotables for three minutes, whether it’s saying he’ll leave other rappers “exposed, like Janet with the nipple out” or chaining together “checking his fortune” with seeing the future a few lines later.

Listen to Jay-Von channel the belated Big L and Jay-Z down below. Jay-Von’s Fuck A Title EP is still under construction. As a bonus, you can check out the original Stretch & Bobbito Show Jay-Z and Big L freestyle session down below and see how Jay-Von’s version compares.