Music

Newly Unearthed Footage Of Jay-Z’s Iconic 2001 Summer Jam Set Includes A Michael Jackson Cameo

Months before the release of his critically acclaimed album, The Blueprint in 2001, Jay-Z performed a memorable set at the annual Hot 97 Summer Jam. For over two decades, Jay-Z‘s hour-long set has remained one of the hip-hop festival’s most iconic moments, footage has proven difficult to find.

Until yesterday, when Jay’s set resurfaced via a YouTube account called HipHopVCR.

The set consists of Jay performing several of his hits and debuting new tracks. He performed “Takeover,” a response to Nas’ scathing diss track “Ether.” “Takeover” was produced by Kanye West, who, at the time, was relatively unknown. “Takeover” was targeted at both Nas and Mobb Deep, particularly one-half of Mobb Deep, late rapper Prodigy. During the performance, Jay broadcast a photo of a young Prodigy in dance classes on the jumbotron.

Later on in the set, Jay brought out Michael Jackson. Though the two didn’t perform together, Jackson can be seen blowing kisses and tossing peace signs to a roaring crowd.

Jay would later collaborate with MJ on Blueprint cut “Girls, Girls, Girls,” on which, Jay claims Jackson sang background vocals, despite not appearing in the song’s credits. In 2010, a song called “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day appeared on Jackson’s posthumous album, Michael. The track was originally written as a collaboration between Jackson and Lenny Kravitz for Jackson’s 2001 album Invincible, but did not make the final tracklist. It was later rewritten and recorded as “Storm” and included on Kravitz’s 2004 album Baptism, as a collaboration between Jay and Kravitz.

Though footage of the Summer Jam set has remained scarce over the years, the performance has been held to high regard in the realm of hip-hop. Jay would reference the performance in a remix of Jeezy’s 2008 hit, “Put On,” rapping, “I put Mike Jack on stage at Summer Jam, Billie Jean / I put Prodigy in his place on that Summer Jam screen.”

Check out the full Summer Jam set above.

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