If there was ever a timeless, still-reverberating moment in hip-hop, it was on June 28, 2001 in New York’s Nassau Coliseum — the site of HOT97’s long-standing Summer Jam festival. In addition to appearances from heavy-hitters of the time like Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, Eve, OutKast, and Nelly, JAY-Z was also on the bill as the show’s headliner.
Recently, a YouTube account going as HipHopVCR unearthed footage of Hov‘s entire performance that night, which continues to stand as one of the greatest since out culture’s inception. At the time of that set, JAY-Z was also campaigning towards the release of what would become his sixth studio LP The Blueprint — a classic that, in addition to a show-stealing assist from Eminem, contained the groundbreaking single “Takeover,” a Kanye West-produced effort that saw JAY sending direct shots to Mobb Deep and Nas:
“I don’t care if you Mobb Deep, I hold triggers to crews, you little fuck, I got money stacks bigger than you, when I was pushing weight back in ’88, you was a ballerina, I got the pictures, I seen ya, then you dropped “Shook Ones,” switched your demeanor, well, we don’t believe you, you need more people … ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov, no!”
While breaking that song out to the attentive crowd, JAY even broke out dance photos of Prodigy as a child on the screen behind him, sending the entire venue into a frenzy. That moment would later (seem to) drive Prodigy‘s subject matter on Mobb Deep‘s Infamy in that same year — the late emcee would also open up about the situation in his autobiography My Infamous Life.
The “Takeover” moment wasn’t the only shocker, either. At some point (and after a short-but-anxious delay), JAY-Z brought out none other than Michael Jackson, an appearance that many would have considered unthinkable on such a stage. Add in snaps of MJ dapping JAY-Z and posting up with the rest of the Roc-A-Fella squad, it certainly makes sense as to why Shawn Corey Carter continues to hold the proverbial crown more than twenty years later.
Press play on the full performance below.