summer jam

Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, photographed backstage during HOT 97′s “Summer Jam” festival by Lenny “KodakLens” Santiago on June 25, 1999.

This was the year that headliner Jay dissed the up-and-coming rapper 50 Cent on the stage for the first time. 50 had recently name-dropped Hov on “How to Rob;” his debut single that detailed how he planned to rob numerous prominent figures in the R&B and hip-hop music scene. Hov responded by debuting his track “It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)” during his set, which included the witty lyric: “Go against Jigga yo ass is dense, I’m about a dollar - what the fuck is 50 Cents?”

During a radio interview with Angie Martinez in 2002, Jigga explained how he was backstage with 50 before he spat the line: “[I told him] ‘Yo, I respect the record, yeah I liked that record, it was hot. But you know I gotta spank you dog!’ That was the conversation. [50 responded] ‘No doubt, do your thing!’ Then it was peace. History … What I respect though is that conversation. It was real.”

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Summer Jam 17
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Remy Ma is walking that line between doing the most and doing way too much.

Hot 97 Summer Jam was this weekend and Remy Ma brought out Young M.A, Cardi B, Lil Kim, MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Monie Love, The Lady of Rage, and Queen Latifah out for an epic collection of female emcees on stage all at once.

First of all, I love that Rem brought out Cardi B because I don’t know a single person who’s familiar with her who doesn’t want her to win.  I think Cardi B is over the top and ridiculous, but I’m still in her corner and I’m hype for her continued glo-up.  Young M.A never does anything for me so I don’t have anything to say there, Kim seemed tired, but Queen Latifah delivered “U.N.I.T.Y.” like it was still 1993.  She is just so comfortable on the mic and never has to oversell because she has nothing to prove, ever.  

I was lo-key hype….but Miss Reminisce……come on….how do you follow up Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.” with *FUCK NICKI MINAJ* and go straight into “ShEther” tho?!  So messy!  Y'all I can’t decide if I’m supposed to stan hard for Rem or be hella embarrassed right now.  I feel like nobody in either fandom cares about this beef anymore.  Like, to have a beef, don’t both people have to care?  What’s the proper hip-hop protocol here when your beef is a dud?  Do you keep gassing it or just let it go and find something else to do?

And quiet as it’s kept, Queen Latifah was the only one delivering bars with crispness anyway and I wouldn’t buy a ticket to see any of em other than her.

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.