Jay-Z backstage with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, at Hot 97’s ‘Summer Jam’ concert in June 2001, photographed by Walik Goshorn.
At the time of his headlining performance his infamous beef with Nas was beginning to get radio traction, so when King Hov needed a little help driving home the point that he wasn’t about to relinquish his hip-hop crown anytime soon he placed a call to his friend MJ - and had him appear onstage during a break in his ‘Summer Jam’ performance.
After performing his Jackson 5–sampling hit, ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)’ at the end of his set, Hov announced his surprise guest.
“I know Michael Jackson better come from behind that motherfuckin’ curtain,” Jay-Z said to the doubtful crowd… and then waited in anticipation for the King of Pop to emerge. “You want me to go back and get him myself?” Jay asked. “Okay, I’mma go get him.” Seconds later the two walked out and posed for photos together. In one of the pictures, Michael struck a b-boy stance with his arms folded. Jackson’s only words to the crowd were “I love you all!” before he exited the stage.
According to Memphis Bleek, Michael Jackson ordered everyone unauthorized to meet him to stand with their face to the wall when he walked through the backstage area. With Hov’s influence vouching for them the whole Roc-A-Fella Records team was able to meet the King of Pop and pay their respects.