MC Hammer vs Jay-Z?? An Open Letter to MC Hammer

A lot of buzz around this ‘beef’ between Jay-Z and MC Hammer. For those who don’t know Jay-Z took shots at Hammer last month about his past financial woes. He did a song where he spit a verse about Hammer losing 30 million. This is while Jay-Z is reported to have brought an island or something like that. Hammer wasn’t feeling the slight and made his disapproval known via twitter with a promise to release a video reposnse on October 31st.

A few things to consider..on one hand Hip Hop has always had the ‘battle’ element. Taking shots or responding to disses have long been a tried and true method of getting on. 5o Cent blew up doing this. KRS made his name early on coming after folks. Hammer himself  came up taking shots at all sorts of folks explaining that Hip Hop was like sport. It’s team vs team and when you stepped into the arena it was on you to  bring the ruckus so to speak. I recall when he challenged Michael Jackson to a dance off. It was all about the battling on stage, on vinyl and everywhere else to establish your position. So back in the days when folks like Run DMC,  3rd Base, Ice Cube or LL took shots, Hammer got at them both on and off record. Very few emcees especially those who were popular would get a dis off and he not address them.

Jay-Z on the other hand has been interesting with his disses. He’s long known that responding to slights gave folks a chance to come up. He talked about this when he had his famous battle with Nas back in ’01. Folks forget that a lot of times he ‘brushed the disses off his shoulder’ and ignored them not allowing himself to be a free meal ticket. He did that with Jayo Felony and even Game. So why he took shots at Hammer is curious to me.

On another level when cats become elder statesmen in the rap game it just doesn’t seem right to have any sort of battle.  It should be about building. It would’ve been dope if Jay-Z helped Hammer get that 30 million back and they embarked on a lucrative long sustaining project together.. It would’ve been good if Hammer shines it off and stepped to Jay privately, But respect is respect, and Hammer is not letting up as we can see in this recent video called Better Run Run.So we’ll see what happens on the 31st.

In the meantime, folks have been speaking out trying to stop this from moving forward. Below is a letter from a local Oakland based author Harry Williams.


An Open Letter To MC Hammer

Author Rev Harry Williams

Dear Brother Hammer:

The black nation is in a state of chaos. According to the Sentencing Project, oneout of every three black men can expect to see the inside of a prison cell ifcurrent trends continue. The CDC tells us that black men are ten times morelikely to contract HIV/AIDS than white men. Black women are twenty times morelikely to contract AIDS than white women. The leading cause of death for blackmen between the ages of 15 and 34 is homicide. In the computer age, theManhattan Institute tells us that only 48% of all black males in America will earn ahigh school diploma. We are in trouble; real trouble.

There are no shortage of professional race leaders to address these issues. Letme tell you where they fall short. They lack a voice that young people will listento. No young brother sitting in front of a television rolling a blunt is going tosay, “Gee, let me turn on the radio and see what Reverend So and So is talkingabout today.” No, they are going to turn on their favorite mc.

Hip hop artists have a unique power to speak into the lives of young people. Thenext Martin Luther King and the next Malcolm X are not going to show up withBrooks Brothers suits and wing tip shoes. The untapped power in ourcommunities belongs to hip hop artists. That is why it is so disheartening to seepowerful African Americans divert their tremendous potential to save lives to thepettiness of tearing down other blacks.
Brother Hammer, recently you became the victim of such an attack. Sir, youhave nothing to prove to anyone. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down into apit. There are some people who will say mean things just to extract a negativereaction out of you. When they succeed in making you frown, their day is made.Turn your back to them.

God gave you a gift that caused hip hop to explode on the face of the earth. Ifthere had been no MC Hammer, a lot of rappers would still be serving crack infront of the projects or slinging burgers, if they could get a job at all. You createdan industry. How many people can lay down tonight and before they close theireyes say to themselves, “I changed the world.”

I know that you are from Oakland. Homeboys in the place they call “da Town”are suffering from the reverberating shocks of the Great Recession. Gangwarfare and gun violence are out of control. People are hungry and desperate.They need voices of hope. For so many years, you have owned such a voice.Come back to these streets. Leave the hatred to the haters. Perhaps God’s
greater purpose for your life is that you speak hope in the valleys of the shadowof death and despair. Come home. You name is still quadruple platinum in thesestreets.

My prayers are with you.


Reverend Harry Louis Williams, II – East Oakland, CA(

19 comments on “MC Hammer vs Jay-Z?? An Open Letter to MC Hammer

  1. I wanna see what hes got on Jay Z personally. Jay Z has pissed alot of people off over the years intentionally or unintentionally. At the end of the day any of this could have been avoided had Jay Z kept his mouth shut. Is it common practice for us to excuse Jay Z because ‘Oh thats Just J being J’, while holding Hammer to a higher standard? Cant say because of age cause Hov is up in age now, saggin pants and all! Let Hammer do what he pleases reppercussions be damned!

  2. Making fun of MC Hammer for losing his fortune is about as relevant as making a Dan Quayle joke.

    Hey Jay, do you know what time it is? Yeah, it’s almost 2011. Life ain’t some VH1 “I love the 90s” episode. Can you at least try and keep up, Man?

  3. Funny how when 2 Pac was around employment was actually peaking in this country, now during the single greatest recession in history, hip hop artists today haven’t mentioned anything beyond going to “The Club”, and that “Balling” bullshit.

  4. Hammer should respond it’s all about the Hip Hop my good Reverend. They’ve been beefin or better yet battle rappin since the beginning of this thing called Hip Hop. They’re both in their 40’s so it should not escalate to far it’s just Hip Hop. Peace and Blessings

  5. Man….it’s Hip Hop, let them battle! :o) Hammer and Jay-Z are from the maturer echelons of emcees. Therefore, I very seriously doubt that this battle would get out of hand like the battles of the youngbucks today.

    Hammer is by no means a threatening target to Jay-Z, so therefore I suspect Jay-Z’s diss on Hammer was either just a comedic Hip Hop pot-shot, or maybe Jay is trying to help revitalize Hammer’s career.

    Besides, its not like Hammer has not been dissed before. Why is he so adamant in responding to this one? Maybe he to sees the opportunity in it as well. It bet if it were Wacka Flocka Flame, Hammer wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

    To tell emcees (not to be confused with “rappers”) not to battle is like telling football players to hug instead of hit on the football field. Its like telling boxers to not hit so hard. Its like telling strippers to strip with dignity.

    Although I can appreciate the spirit of the Open Letter to MC Hammer, I think that it is unnecessary overkill, particularly for these two artists.

    This is Hip Hop, Baby!!!


  6. @ BlackGreer:
    You are 100% correct. That’s because these so-called Hip Hop artists today are just a bunch of Corporate owned and operated “pets” (ex. BET owned and operated by Viacom). They’re soft as baby s***. So quick to talk about other black people (ex. 50 cent @ Oprah) and clubbin and partying, but never any real guts to take on real issues, such as 2 illegal wars, racist Tea Bags, super high unemployment (extremely devastating for young Black folks), the Real reason why so many Black men end up in prison (forced slave labor and profits for privatized prisons), Private Army Contractors all over the place (ex. Blackwater in Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans post Katrina), etc.. And since approx. 80% of hip hop music is bought by white suburban kids, these punk ass rappers shook-and-jive to look “Hard” (Just like Amos and Andy used to do with Black face during the ’30s to impress white audiences at the expense of black folks). Todays main stream rappers are just a 21st century version of house negroes.

  7. @Blackgreer/Rob

    Co-sign on both points! Never really got into the likes of Jay-Z (hearing Pac’s take didn’t help matters). This sort of stuff took off near the end of the ’90s, which coincides with my growing lack of interest during that time.

    Reminds me of catching PE’s “Night of the Living Baseheads” video a few days ago for the 1st time in years (don’t feel like navigating YouTube 24/7). Trust me, you won’t see videos/content like that anymore, unless you ‘Tube it.

  8. not interested enough to even listen to Jay z’s rap to analize.

    Deffinately not interested in Hammer’s response. Didn’t he usually respond to beef by soliciting gangs to beat people down like 3rd Base? Is that a rap battle? Hammer was a dancer, entertainer, and businessman. You have to be an MC to get in a rap beef and crafting verses was never his strong suit. He got back at people to protect his career not to prove any lyrical superiority. Comparing Hammer’s tactics to a real MC beef ala NAS v. Jay is apples to oranges.

  9. Personally I like Hammer. He’s real an entertainer and a great talent as far as energy and dance moves. Also, dude is basically just real cool likeable guy.
    Jay Z is really nothin but a phony. He’s good for the 9-12 yr. old crowd. Once you’ve hit 13 you should be able to see through the bulls…. If not then good luck to you.

    The beef will play out as nothing more than a joke! Love to see Hammer whoop some a.. though.

  10. When I first read about this “beef”, I actually thought it was a rumour. I expected so much better from Hammer.

    For one thing, the verse Jay-Z said was well known that Hammer lost millions of dollars having to file bankruptcy, although he may have been looking out for the wrong people.

    What bothers me is that after losing the money, Hammer became a minister and now he is going to beef with Jay-Z, it seems hypocritical to me. Not Hammer coming back into Hip Hop, but to be “beefing” with anyone.


  11. They call me King Hov copy…

    I didn’t feel like Jay was taking shots at Hammer. He stated factual information that was already public knowledge. Hammer has long been out of the rap game, so there is no reason for Jigga to take shots at him. To my knowledge there has never been a beef between the two or their entourages, behind the scenes or otherwise, but who really knows. But if there never has been a beef, then Jay has no motive for taking shots. I think Hammer felt this might be a way to get back in the game, but if he hasn’t realized the game has changed and it may be good to just let it go. Take the Rev’s advice.

    Personally, I would love for Jay-Z to come out with a response track where he just give it to him so bad that Hammer can’t even muster up a response track for it. But for it to be that good he might need to know Hammer personally and I don’t think they do! Oh well that’s what dreams are for!!!

  12. Hammer’s moment is over. His whole thing was based on dance, and I don’t think he can move like that anymore. Jay-Z’s music is based on lyrics and flow, he can keep that up until he’s 60. I remember when Hammer came out he dissed Run-DMC.

  13. Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it. Jay didnt come at hammer, he stated fact. Hammer always has always been garbage, he symbolizes hip hop today and how corny it is, nas said hip hop is dead and people like hammer destroyed it with gimmicks and no love for the art. Jay-z is in my opinion the best to ever do it. hip hop is dead like jay said its only entertainment.

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