Nas' ex-girlfriend CARMEN BRYAN blames Jay-Z's persistent nature for sparking the infidelity which started the long-running feud between the hip-hop heavyweights.

At first Bryan - mother of Nas' daughter DESTINY - felt no attraction to 99 PROBLEMS star Jay-Z, but she began to become intrigued by his interest in her because he refused to acknowledge her relationship with Nas.

And Bryan was relieved when the pair settled their differences late last year (05).

Recalling the first time she met Jay-Z - real name SHAWN CARTER - Bryan tells America's King magazine, "He just followed us the whole night. I was like, 'Who is this fool? What does he want?' But he was very persistent. I kept thinking this would be horrible if Nas ever found out.

"The closest call was Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve party in 1999. Nas had me stuck in this one corner the whole night. I spot Jay-Z and he sees me, but he can't see Nas 'cause it's so crowded.

"He's coming over with a bottle in hand and I'm shaking like a leaf, sweating bullets. My make-up is running, I'm like, 'Oh my God, tonight's the night.'

"It wasn't. But I came clean because I felt like Jay-Z... was trying to belittle Nas by dropping subliminal things about me and Jay in their songs. Then, afterward, (Nas) lost it."