The Bravehearts: New York’s Bravest

In 1993, veteran journalist Gay Talese released the book “Fame and Obscurity,” a collection of articles he’d written about New York City. The book was critically acclaimed, and went on to become a bestseller. A year later, novice rapper Nas released the album illmatic, a collection of songs he’d written about New York City. The […]

In 1993, veteran journalist Gay Talese released the book “Fame and Obscurity,” a collection of articles he’d written about New York City. The book was critically acclaimed, and went on to become a bestseller. A year later, novice rapper Nas released the album illmatic, a collection of songs he’d written about New York City. The album was also critically acclaimed, but only recently did it become a bestseller—RIAA certified platinum.

Now that Nas is an international rap star after releasing six solo albums, two star-studded group compilation albums, a remix album, and an album of unreleased underground gems, he’s taking a back seat so he can guide the artists on his ill will record label. The Bravehearts, however, have been looming in the shadow of Nas’ fame since the Queensbridge lyricist dropped his debut album back in ‘94. With the release of their upcoming album, Bravehearted, the duo of Jungle Jay and Wiz are looking to turn their time toiling around in obscurity into full-fledged fame. Well, The first thing I wanted to ask y’all was about Horse.

Jungle Jay: Who, son?

Wiz: He was just a feature, man.

Jungle: He said ‘who?’

Wiz: Dogs was a feature on the “Oochie Wally.”

Jungle: Nah, he was just a dude from the Bridge, you know what I’m saying? Hanging around us and we put him on the record. He not really built to go through all this s###. Like, you gotta be really be built for the ups and downs of this business. He just wanted ups, you know what I’m saying? Then soon as Jay-Z started going at Nas, he disappeared. He wasn’t brave. Your bio says it’s just y’all two in the group and Nas and Nashawn are auxiliaries. Why aren’t they a part of the group since they appear with y’all so much?

Wiz: Well, Nas is a soloist and has been for years. And Nashawn is an upcoming soloist, and we just a group of playboys. So how long have you two been rhyming together?

Wiz: We been rhyming for years, but we’ve been official Bravehearts on contract for about 18 months. I wanted to ask about the criticism of Nas not being as good of a businessman as other rappers like Eminem or Nelly, for example.

Jungle: I can answer that easy. We from the ‘hood, for real. A lot of these people are college graduates rapping and talking like they from the ‘hood. They got business degrees, so you know people are going to give them a budget. Like, “Yeah you know what to do what a budget, you got a degree.” Nas is from the ‘hood for real, you know what I’m saying? He dropped out of high school. We all really ‘hood people, so it’s going to take us a second, and we younger then all them guys. All them guys are over 30. Ain’t none of us 30.

Wiz: We all dropped out of school, man. That’s why.

Jungle: Yeah, the leader of our click dropped out of school. The leaders of all these other dudes, Jay-Z and Cam’ron—all these dudes been to college. College was no hope for us. College? We thought we would all be dead before we could even fill out an application or take an SAT. That’s not even in the category for us. The options was dying and getting locked up so fast you could even think about no college. Has being down with Nas like an enhanced education?

Wiz: Pretty much, experience has been our best teacher.

Jungle: Just being with Nas has been an experience. Going through all the ups and downs, hearing his problems with the labels and how he got through the problems. He had a long career. It’s not like he just came through rapping and then he was gone, and had to find somewhere else to find money. He was the only artist on Sony that was signed back then. I think him and Lauryn Hill, or something. You mentioned Horse not wanting to be there for the downs. And beef has been so prevalent in hip-hop lately; can you speak on how if somebody just disses one person then the whole crew has to respond?

Jungle: Because that person is feeding that whole crew. Like, so if Nas is feeding me for the past 10 years and Jay-Z tries to assassinate his whole character and his whole being and tries to get him out the game—he’s hurting me. That’s hurting me and my family. That’s hurting all the people that Nas helps. Nas will be like, “Man, it ain’t nothing.” I’ll be like, “Yes it is, son! You gotta dead that!

Wiz: Yes it is! Yeah!

Jungle: And Horse on the other hand is just scared. He look at it like they gon’ beat us up.

Wiz: [Mocking Horse] “Oh they gon’ kill us. I’m the biggest one; I’m gon’ to get shot. I’m bigger. They can see me first.”

Jungle: They talking about Jungle is too rough or too wild to hang with—he was scared to hang with me. So do you think all dis tracks should be responded to?

Jungle: Nah! Not all dis tracks should be responded to. Only certain ones: good hip-hop battles for the fans. Those are the only ones that should be responded. If it’s going to make hip-hop better and make the fans like it better. It gotta be big for hip-hop like when Nas responded to Jay-Z. Don’t do it to try and blow up. Can you speak on the tracks Jim Jones has been throwing out?

Jungle: He’s a dirt bag! He’s a street dude; you don’t answer people like that. You just see him in the street. Period. That dirty fake blood ni**a, man. I’ma destroy that ni**a. I will destroy him, yo. With one fatal fu**ing swing of the arm, yo. Believe me. You know the “Bomb First” track that ‘Pac did? So he did that, but he said: I’ma Braveheart killa, Nashawn die, too….

Jungle: [Interrupts] He can’t beat Nashawn in fight, man.

Wiz: Hell no!

Jungle: I let Nashawn fight all of them. Me, I will fight anyone of them in their crew. I will fight their security guards.

Wiz: I will beat the sh*t out of them. Yo, quote me: Wiz said, he’ll beat the s### out of Santana.

Jungle: I will kill Santana with a f###### clap. I will soul clap his head like this [smacks hands together] into a sandwich like, you know what I’m saying? Them n#####, man. Freeky Zeeky got shot up, and their friend got killed and they didn’t do nothing. So I don’t even never want to hear them n##### talking about me.

Wiz: Don’t talk about me. Go at the n#### that ran ya man over.

Jungle: Talk about the n#### that aired Freeky dirty Zeeky out, and the n#### that killed his fa**ot-ass friends and sh*t. Them b#### ass ni**as that died when Freeky Zeeky got shot, y’all ni**as better handle the business for them, yo. You play with me or my brother, and they gonna get hurt real bad. I’m just going to take it out on they security guards or something, you know what I’m saying?

Wiz: Them dusty ass ni**as. Cam’ron and his grandma earrings.

Jungle: Yeah, Cam’ron got liver disease or something. Man, how you get liver disease and you that young? He probably got A.I.D.S. I think Cam got H.I.V. Tell me how the situation was to y’all when Steve Stoute [Nas’ on again/off again manager] was working with Jay-Z.

Jungle: I didn’t like that. Cause Stoute is a money chaser. He’s just chasing Jay-Z’s money. You gotta respect a n#### like that, because he’s just around Jay-Z to take some of his money. If Nas start making money, he’s coming to Nas to make money. Here’s 50 Cent, he’s going to run to 50. Is it a conflict that Nas works with him, since y’all don’t like him [Stoute]?

Wiz: There ain’t no conflict, because we do us. Nas is totally different.

Jungle: I don’t like when Nas works with him, because he holds Nas back from being what Nas all the way could be. He just comes around Nas to hold him back. Cause he don’t like Nas for some reason.

Wiz: And that’s our opinion. If son [Nas] messes with him, that’s him. Let me ask you a question to lighten it up a bit. I know Dame Dash recently said in a XXL interview that he doesn’t get to see Jay as much because of Jay’s involvement with Beyonce. Is that similar to y’all because Nas is seeing Kelis?

Wiz: Nah, we see son all the time. I never seen the brother happy like that. They both happy together.

Jungle: I’m glad Nas met Kelis, because he really needed somebody down for the fam. I love the fact that he met somebody he can really chill with that’s not in it to hurt him like that. I love to see him happy, with a woman like that. So he’s still intimately involved in your project?

Wiz: All the time. From the first decision to the last decision. He oversaw the whole thing. The entire Braveheart CD. Whatever he felt he could get on, he got on. Y’all linked up with Lil John and the Eastside Boys, how was that since y’all are New York rappers and they Down South artists?

Wiz: It wasn’t different; it was just bringing music together. The New York vibe and the Atlanta vibe and making them clash, for the first time. I think?

Jungle: I heard some Benzito [Ray “Benzino” Scott], now. I’m ready to take my joint off. Cause Benzito got a joint now with Lil Jon. And they making it stink. On another note, how is your relationship with the other rappers in QB, like Mega and Nature?

Wiz: It’s all good, man. It ain’t no…

Jungle: I be forgetting they exist sometimes, but it don’t matter. Those people had so much talent, they should’ve never dwelled on Nas. That messed up their whole career. They had a lot of talent, you know?