JAY-Z fans were taken on a trip down memory lane earlier this month when previously unseen footage of his legendary Hot 97 Summer Jam 2001 performance surfaced online over 20 years later.
The almost hour-long video captures a 31-year-old Hov at the peak of his powers, commanding the hometown Nassau Coliseum crowd with his score of early hits just months before his sixth album, The Blueprint, dropped.
The performance was memorable for two reasons in particular: it was where he debuted his Nas and Mobb Deep diss song “Takeover” and put a photo of a young Prodigy as a “ballerina” on the Summer Jam screen; and where he brought out the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, on stage to a raucous reception.
JAY-Z may not be active on social media (on his official accounts, at least), but rest assured the footage hit his radar. During a recent episode of his and Cipha Sounds’ long-running Juan Epstein podcast, Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg recalled Hov’s reaction to watching his old Hot 97 Summer Jam set.
Rosenberg explained he sent the clip to JAY-Z’s close friend and collaborator, British-born director/artist Jeymes Samuel, in hopes of him sending it to the Roc Nation mogul. Lo and behold, Samuel passed it along to Hov, who was apparently impressed by his younger self.
“I reached out to my man Jeymes Samuel who produced the movie The Harder They Fall. He does a lot of stuff with Hov these days,” Rosenberg said. “Listen, there are other people I could hit up who, in theory, could ask Hov a question, but Jeymes is one of those dudes that’s a connector type.
“I sent [Samuel] the post and I wake up the next morning and I check my DMs and he sends me a voice note, and he’s like, ‘Yo, wicked bruv! I’ma send this to him right now.’ And then when I got up, we messaged back and forth and he said he sent it to Hov. And when Hov saw the video of himself, he said — I believe the quote was — ‘Yo, Jigga’s something else!'”
Further proving he stays on top of what’s happening online, JAY-Z shared a more public reaction to another old YouTube video earlier this month when he addressed a 2016 VladTV interview with Faizon Love on Pusha T‘s “Neck & Wrist.”
The Friday actor claimed the Reasonable Doubt legend’s “drug lord” persona “is all made up,” prompting a delayed yet deft reply from Hov on the Pharrell-produced track.
“The phase I’m on, love, I wouldn’t believe it either/I’d be like, ‘JAY-Z’s a cheater’/I wouldn’t listen to reason either/All I know is he’s a felon, how is he sellin’?” he rapped, flexing his clever wordplay.