Jonathan Burks (born October 4, 1964), better known by his stage name Jaz-O (formerly The Jaz), is an American rapper and record producer active in the late 1980s through the 1990s, best known for being the mentor of Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z. Burks is nicknamed "the Originator", and had a song titled "The Originators" that featured a young Jay-Z in 1990.[2]

Birth nameJonathan Burks
Also known as
  • The Jaz
  • Big Jaz
Born (1964-10-04) October 4, 1964
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1986–present
Associated acts


Feud with Jay-Z

The long-standing feud between him and Jay-Z started when Jay-Z started Roc-A-Fella Records and he tried to convince Jaz-O and fellow rapper Sauce Money to sign with the label. They both refused. It is rumored that they didn't trust Roc-A-Fella Records CEO's Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke. In addition, they weren't satisfied with what they were to be receiving had they signed the contract, $300,000 in Jaz-O's case. Jay-Z confirms this event on the song "What We Talkin' About" on the Blueprint 3 album when he says "Dame made millions, even Jaz made some scraps, he could've made more but he ain't sign his contract".[3]

Jay-Z went on to diss Jaz first on a track released by DJ Kayslay featuring Freeway, Geda K, Young Chris, and Memphis Bleek titled "Fuck Jaz-O AKA Jaz Ho" in which they rapped over Styles P's "Good Times" instrumental and later on his album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse. Jay-Z states on the track, "I'ma let karma catch up to Jaz-O." Jaz responded with a record on a DJ Kayslay mixtape entitled "Ova" and after the response from Jay-Z and the members of Roc-A-Fella, he released his own response with the diss record known as "Ova Part 2" in which he raps over N.O.R.E.'s "Nothin'" instrumental.

Despite the long-standing feud between mentor and protégé, Jay-Z still gives Jaz-O credit for his success (although he disses him at the same time) as heard in the song "I Do It For Hip Hop" on Ludacris's Theater of the Mind album. Jay-Z says "Shout out to Grand Master Flash and to Caz and even Jaz's bum ass".

Soon after the "I Do It For Hip Hop" diss from Jay-Z, Jaz-O responded with a diss record entitled "Go Harder" where he starts by rapping over his protege's "Brooklyn Go Hard" beat before the beat changes.

In late August 2009, Jaz-O was featured on another song dissing Jay-Z entitled "Gangstas Ride" with West Coast rapper, The Game. Jaz references "Ether" with the line, "Jaz-O, stupid motherfucker, not Shawn, never been bashed on a Tupac song". The song was fueled by the beef between Game and Jay-Z.

In December 2017 they reunited at Jay Z's 4:44 concert seemingly ending the feud.[4]

Other work

Besides being an emcee, he has produced songs for several hip hop artists other than Jay-Z, such as Group Home, M.O.P, Ras Kass, Rakim, Kool G Rap, and others.


Studio albums

Extended plays

  • 1991 - Ya Don't Stop


List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Year Title Artist(s) Album Peak position [5][6][7]
1986 "H.P. Gets Busy" Jay-Z / High Potent
1987 "I'm In Love"
1989 "Buss The Speaker" / "Let's Play House" Word to the Jaz No. 26 on Dance Club Songs
"Hawaiian Sophie" Jay-Z No. 18 on Hot Rap Songs
"Word To The Jaz"
1990 "The Originators" Jay-Z To Your Soul No. 13 on Hot Rap Songs
1991 "A Groove (This Is What U Rap 2)" No. 18 on Hot Rap Songs
"Hypocritters" Ya Don't Stop
1996 "Waitin'" / "Foundation" Jay-Z, Sauce Money
1999 "Jigga What..." Jay-Z, Amil Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life No. 84 on the Hot 100
2000 "Kingz Kounty" Kingz Kounty
2001 "Let's Go" Jay-Z
2002 "Love Is Gone" No. 20 on Hot Rap Songs
"Ova" / "Deadly"
2005 "Be There"


  1. Shawn Grant (2019-07-10). "Jay-Z Signs Jaz-O To Roc Nation Deal". The Source. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  2. "Jay-Z Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  3. "20 Rappers Who Almost Signed To Other LabelsJaz-O". Complex. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  4. "Jay-Z and Jaz-O Reunite at 4:44 Tour Stop in Chicago - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  5. "The Jaz Chart History". Hot Rap Songs. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  6. "The Jaz Chart History". Dance Club Songs. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  7. "Jaz-O Chart History". Hot Rap Songs. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
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