I had this joint on a Clue cassette tape probably around ’97-’98 after Nore became a hot ticket off The War Report, Nature was solidifying his buzz through Clue freestyles, and Nas had the world gasping for air waiting on I Am…
I’ve heard this ill piano sample flipped on Atmosphere’s “Hey There” off You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having and on the Raekwon & Beanie Sigle joint off Cuban Linx 2 but I’ll always remember “Triple Threat” where I hear those haunting keys sliding around like a bandit on the hood of a hot muscle car.
I was THEE BIGGEST Nature fan at this point. One of the first bootleg CDR’s I ever bought was Best of Nature & Half-a-Mil (RIP). Even had a horrendous color copy of their faces as a CD insert. Shouts to the Record Bar in South Philly for that joint and the bulk of the mixtapes I used to cop in the 90’s.
Anyway, “Triple Threat” is so incredible because you have 3 guys, who I had to assume were homies at the time, really just going in in that specific style most NYC late 90’s emcees wielded: intellectual self-righteous thugs who were articulate yet slick and deviant. That style of rhyming vanished probably after Roc-a-Fella started blowing up with (on the surface) most materialistic and simplistic styles, but guys like Pun, Prodigy, Nature, Nas, early Jay, Biggie, Rae & Ghost, etc used to namedrop authors and spiritual double entendres in the same breath as murder schemes and Lexus preferences. “Triple Threat” exemplifies this vocation, especially since all three guys would go on to have rollercoaster careers while styles ranging from reggaeton to misguided “political” rap nostalgia.
Nas was untouchable with his first verse:
“Sex and money go together like techs and nine shells
Swiss cheese and cover it up like Roswell
Cartel, you ain’t seen no iller regime
The Celestine Prophecy, project warrior owns property
Crackers hated it, cops get jealous cause I stay with
The ’98 temporary plates on my whip
The system think it’s not right, a rich thug with a cop’s wife
Cause I’m on, tele-vision and live the pop life
I rock mics, make mills, soundscan sales
One point whatever records, profession is scales
Money’s the root of evil but it make you happy
Don’t wanna shoot my people but still they might shoot me
Cause I talk like Doctor Malachi York
Play the sidewalk, hold the fort, diamond plate chain, gold fork
Get in tune, rich like Ricky from Silver Spoons
Frank Lopez crib, elevators in living rooms”
These three guys had a cool working relationship. Nore was on the The Firm album and got a shoutout on It Was Written. Nature had his national breakout moment on Nore’s solo (“Banned From TV”) along with “Getting Head in the Whip”. And Nas needed some new rap homies after his beef with Cormega and his seemingly odd relationship with AZ after The Firm album bricked.
Here’s a few more gems from Nature, Nas and Nore during the mixtape glory days of the late 90’s
Nas & Nature “The Foulness Part 3” (freestyle over “Shootouts)
Nas & Noreaga Funk Flex freestyle
Nature & Noreaga “Magic and Bird”
Nature & Noreaga “Let it Go/Friday Nights” (skip to 1:36–“Friday Nights” is way iller)
And apparently Nore and Nature did a mixtape back in 2008 to promote Nature’s album Painkiller and Nore’s start-and-stop label Thugged Out Millitainment which you can grab most of these joints from over at DatPiff.com for free