The shit was so ahead, thought we was all dead

from Jay Z (Ft. J. Cole) – A Star Is Born Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

This is a double-entendre for Illmatic being “ahead” of its time and Jay having a bootleg “ahead” of the official release. He thought everybody’s career was finished because nobody would be able to do what Nas did on Illmatic

Especially interesting line in light of Nas and Jay-Z’s later 2001 to 2005 feud. Although even in his Nas dis song, “Takeover”, Jay never doubted how good Illmatic was

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