Remember that time DeShawn Stevenson called LeBron James overrated?
Think back: 2008 NBA Playoffs, Stevenson, a member of the Washington Wizards at the time, said that James, then in his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers was an overrated basketball player. James, seemingly unfazed and chasing his first NBA title at the time, replied stating that Stevenson would be like “Jay-Z responding to Soulja Boy.”
Soulja Boy used that statement to his advantage and attended a playoff game between the two teams. He even cheered on Stevenson while sitting courtside and did the Superman dance from his seat.
That’s when Jay-Z stepped in. Sampling the instrumental and vocals from Too Short’s Blow The Whistle, Hov went ham!
For those with amnesia or tardy to the party, he said in the diss track:
“Ask my n**** LeBron! We so big we ain’t gotta respond. When you talkin to a don, please have respect like you’re talking to your mom. We let the money do the talkin. As you see we be talkin rather often. The ROC Boys in the buildin. Another hundred fifty million don’t it sound like we yellin?!!! Who the f*** overrated?! If anything they underpaid him. Hatin that’s only ‘gonna make him spend the night out of spite with the chick you’ve been datin. We the best of the best. We ‘gon be here so the rest could take a rest, I gotta get this off my chest, No pause none of that s***, get off my d***”
The Cavaliers would eventually eliminate the Wizards in that playoff series and Jay-Z would get his point across without LeBron saying a word. Too $hort’s song also got new life.
So much life, that eight years later, Drake’s vocals came in on For Free, a single on DJ Khaled’s Major Key album. On it, Drake would rhyme $hort’s classic, ‘on and on’ as his opening verse.
Simply putL Drizzy and Hovi gave it the old Toronto and Brooklyn one-two punch!
“It just gave the song a new audience every now and then,” Too $hort shared with me. “Like every two or three years some new area just discovers Blow The Whistle and it’s like a new song all over again.”
Check Out Too $hort and Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson Discussing The Whole She-bang on Scoop B Radio
But we digress!
Appearing on today’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Too $hort walked listeners through the inter-webbing of Jay-Z’s request to use the track and his decision to side with LeBron. Too $hort indicated that Jay-Z had a concert in Oakland after James and Stevenson were going back and forth. Too $hort says that Jay-Z decided to play the song at the concert.. “I didn’t come on stage but he played it and like sent me a shout out and the crowd went crazy when he played the song,” Too $hort told me on Scoop B Radio.
“So I guess in his mind he was gearing up to, at that point I think he was thinking about signing LeBron and having him play for the Nets and he was courting LeBron and LeBron was special to him and ‘ol boy [Stevenson] stepped on LeBron’s toes talking shit and Jay was like I’m going to shut this down. And he probably saw the moment where the crowd reacted to the song and then that was on his mind.”
If you recall, Jay-Z, a close friend and confidant of LeBron was a minority owner of the Nets at that time. A non-issue, but good for theater, nonetheless.
Seizing the opportunity, Too $hort said Jay-Z called him, asked for his blessing and requested the Blow The Whistle beat.
“He was like: ‘could you send me the instrumental to that?’ If a rapper called me and said: ‘send me the instrumental,’ I’ll probably say something like: ‘we didn’t even bounce the instrumental, so we don’t even have one.’ When Jay called, I was like: ‘ it will be there in a couple of hours man.’ I had no idea what he was going to do with it, but I am glad he did.”
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