Top Five Hammer References By Jay Z

It is often said that you should not kick a man when he is down, but Jay Z does not think that applies to (no more MC please) Hammer. Not Arm & Hammer, which Mr. Sean Carter name-drops repeatedly. In this Top Five list, however, I evaluate the top five times Hov mentions a Hammer that is not used for whipping that yola.

5. “Holy Grail” from Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)— In his somewhat maligned app/album release, Jay Z saw fit to take a jab at Hammer (maybe in response to a response….wait for it below) with the following:

Caught up in all these lights and cameras/But look what that shit did to Hammer

Jay goes on to talk about how fame burnt out Mike Tyson’s candle as well as Kurt Cobain’s, but the Hammer reference was a bookend to a one-sided feud. Hammer and Hov by this release had developed a history, and this seems to have been the last word on the matter, especially since Number One on this list is three bars of ‘hammering’ beatdown.

4. “Kingdom Come” from Kingdom Come (2006) — It should be mostly universally agreed that this is Hov’s least amazing album, but he has some good (as always) bars and — of course — makes what is a recurring, obligatory Hammer reference:

Had to dust off the Hammer dance, can’t touch this

in a song that samples Rick James’ “Super Freakand MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” which sampled “Superfreak” to begin with. So meta!

3. Rell ft. Jay Z — “Love for Free” (1998) — Rell is a relative unknown, due to being a victim of the Wrath of Hov and having his debut album shelved for the failure of tracks like “Love for Free” in the late ’90s. Apparently not for lack of Sean Carter’s effort:

“It’s for the nachos, come out the clothes/And baby girl if it’s Hammer time, then hide your toes”

You cannot make this stuff up. Only Jodeci could have made nachos and sexy time go together better.

2. Notorious B.I.G. “I Love the Dough” from Life After Death (1997) —Jay Z did not have a lot of luck in the late 1990s and early aughts with guest features, since this was one of the lesser tracks from Biggies’ double LP instant classic, and he was “getting murdered on your own sh — ” with Jay’s “Renegade” in 2001. No one was messing with Shady in 2001, but we are not here for that. On “I Love the Dough”, Jay states:

“Snatch the P89s that we pack in the drawers
And we clap the doors of your Acuras
Snap like cameras on amateurs
Make you all dance, hold a hammer to yours”…

And, no, he’s not talking about Hammer the rapper, but hammers on handguns. And I wanted to drop a reference to how bad he got slaughtered on “Renegade” so I did. The two are four years apart, so close enough. You will forget about it after:

  1. Kanye West’s “So Appalled” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)— Jay really goes after Hammer in his feature on this cut from Kanye’s finest work:
“Hammer went broke so you know I’m more focused /I lost 30 mil’ so I spent another 30/ ’Cause unlike Hammer 30 million can’t hurt me”

See, Sean Carter has a net worth near half a billion dollars. Hammer, on the other hand, went bankrupt after blowing through thirty million in earnings in the mid-1990s. It really hurt Hammer’s feelings to be called out on wax, but the born-again, now-reverend MC saw fit to refer to Hov from thence forth as “HellBoy” and even released a response track:

This tweet by Hammer only got, as of this writing, 41 retweets, whereas a single tweet by Sean Carter will get about a million in fifteen seconds.

Sorry, Hammer, you did not recover from that one. Neither did Hov, really, since the best verses he has had on record since his first attempt at retirement with the Black Album have been on other people’s songs. Most recently, Pusha T’s “Drug Dealers Anonymous.”

Hammer got dealt by Hov, and that’s a wrap.


The author has a thing for top five lists, and loves to write about hip hop over at Journeymen Rappers. I’d love your support to help me keep researching and writing: Show how much you loved this particular piece or maybe you want to support on a sustaining basis and get some perks?

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