H•A•M

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"H•A•M"
20110111-HAM.jpg
Single by Jay-Z and Kanye West
from the album Watch the Throne
ReleasedJanuary 11, 2011 (2011-01-11)
Recorded2010
Genre
Length4:38
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Jay-Z singles chronology
"Monster"
(2010)
"H•A•M"
(2011)
"Otis"
(2011)
Kanye West singles chronology
"Christmas in Harlem"
(2010)
"H•A•M"
(2011)
"E.T."
(2011)

"H•A•M" is a song by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West. It was released as the first single from their collaborative studio album Watch the Throne on January 11, 2011. It was produced by Lexus "Lex Luger" Lewis and Kanye West.[1] The song has served as the opening track to the duo's North American and European Watch the Throne Tour. Various rap artists have remixed it, such as Ace Hood and Busta Rhymes. The song was featured in the 2012 film Project X.[2]

Background[edit]

Lex Luger told Mixtape Daily how the song came about:

"H.A.M." really came about in New York City. Me and Kanye, we had did 'See Me Now.' I played him a lot of beats, but he liked the ones that I didn't expect him to like. I left, like, eight beats with him; he called me, like, two weeks later and he said he wanted, for sure, two. That was one of the ones. ... I sent him the track out. He did what he did to it, still I didn't hear the song. I couldn't hear it until everyone else heard it. Working with Kanye was crazy. I can't really explain it. He's a perfectionist. He has to have everything perfect and out the ordinary, 10 times greater than everything. He's a crazy guy, but he's fire." [3]

In an interview with HuffPost opera singer Aude Cardona explained how she came to be featured on the song, stating that she received a random call from West's manager, who told her that West needed an opera singer for his album with Jay-Z. Elsewhere, she said that she recorded in the Mercer Hotel for seven hours, and a lot of what she did was her own improvisation, as opposed to the male singer on the song.[4]

Reception[edit]

Dean in a Reebok press photo; 2014
Swizz Beatz praised the rappers for a high-level collaboration with each other.

Fellow rapper and producer Swizz Beatz commented positively on the song, saying, "I think that those being both of my friends, and knowing that people can team up on such a high caliber level — as musicians, as rappers, as friends, as peers — I think it's super positive, and I think that if more of the industry did moves like this it would be a better place for everybody."[5] "H•A•M" has received mixed reviews from critics. The song received a three out of five star review from Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone.[6] Kevin O'Donnell of Spin praised the song by saying, "Kanye's latest, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was the most epic album of 2010 — and the rapper's ambitions haven't eased up one bit here. The track morphs into the weirdest sounding opera ever, with a female singing window-shattering trills over a gospel piano progression and the song's hard-hitting beat."[7]

In an interview with Miami radio station 99 Jamz, Jay-Z spoke about the song;

"H.A.M." is super intense, you don't' want to hear that every day. It's difficult to hear that. Inside a whole body work, it's different. Like when we perform "H.A.M." live it's a whole different experience, it reacts like it was this massive hit record. Because that's the setting or it. The setting for it is a concert, not inside your home."[8]

Remixes[edit]

Busta Rhymes made a remix to the song. Roscoe Dash also did a freestyle to it for the intro to his "Dash Effect" Mixtape.[9] Also freestyles have been made by Lupe Fiasco,[10] Lil' Kim,[11] Chingy, 40 Cal, Papoose, Emilio Rojas, Ace Hood, Lil Wyte (who renamed it "Porter House") and XV (who renamed the song "Heroes Amongst Men").[12]

Chart performance[edit]

On January 19, 2011, "H•A•M" made its debut on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 23 and on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs at number 10, with digital sales of 125,000 units.[13]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Produced by Lex Luger
  • Co-produced by Kanye West
  • Additional production by Mike Dean
  • Recorded by Noah Goldstein (assisted by Matt Arnold) at Real World Studios and (The Mercer) Hotel
  • Mixed by Mike Dean at (The Mercer) Hotel
  • Cello: Christopher "Hitchcock" Chorney
  • Cello arrangement: Mike Dean
  • Additional vocals: Aude Cardona and Jacob Lewis Smith
  • Creative direction: Ricardo Tisci

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[14] 78
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[15] 56
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 47
Denmark (Tracklisten)[17] 35
Ireland (IRMA)[18] 40
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[19] 53
Scotland (OCC)[20] 32
Russia (Tophit)[21] 292
South Korea International Singles (Gaon)[22] 7
UK Singles (OCC)[23] 30
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 23
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[25] 24
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[26] 14

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Position
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[27] 96

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 500,000*

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States January 11, 2011 Digital download [29]
Ukraine January 12, 2011 Roc-A-Fella Records [30]
Australia January 17, 2011 Contemporary hit radio
[31]
Alternative radio
United States January 25, 2011 Urban contemporary radio Def Jam Recordings [32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jay-Z & Kanye West. The letters H•A•M stand for Hard As a Motherfucker. – H.A.M." Real Talk NY. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  2. ^ Kevin Jagernauth (3 March 2012). "Here's All The Music That Pumped Up 'Project X' Including The xx, Four Tet, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem & More". Indie Wire. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  3. ^ Jayson Rodriguez (21 January 2011). "Jay-Z, Kanye West's 'HAM' Beatsmith Lex Luger Looks Ahead". MTV. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  4. ^ Amy Lee (19 August 2011). "'Watch The Throne' Does Opera: Meet Aude Cardona". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  5. ^ Mawuse Ziegbe (Jan 12, 2011). "Swizz Beatz Says Jay-Z And Kanye West's 'H.A.M. Is 'Super Positive'". MTV.
  6. ^ Jody Rosen (January 11, 2011). "Kanye West and Jay-Z". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018.
  7. ^ O'Donnell, Kevin (January 11, 2011). "HEAR IT: Kanye and Jay-Z Leak First Collabo Song". Spin.
  8. ^ Erika Ramirez (15 August 2011). "Jay-Z Talks 'Watch the Throne' & Calls Beyonce 'The Second Coming'". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  9. ^ "New Music – HAM Busta Rhymes Remix". Rap Radar. January 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "Audio: Lupe Fiasco – H.A.M. Freestyle (On Westwood)". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  11. ^ "New Music – Lil Kim HAM Remix". Rap Radar. January 27, 2011.
  12. ^ Langley, JT (Jan 27, 2011). "Listen Up: "H.A.M. (Heroes Amongst Men)" by XV". Ology. Archived from the original on 2011-01-30. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  13. ^ Trust, Gary (January 19, 2011). "Britney Spears' 'Hold It Against Me' Debuts Atop Hot 100". Billboard.
  14. ^ "The ARIA Report: Issue 1091 (Week Commencing 24 January 2011)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 2. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  15. ^ "Kanye West & Jay-Z – H•A•M – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  16. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  17. ^ "danishcharts.dk – Kanye West & Jay-Z – H•A•M". Tracklisten. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  18. ^ "Chart Track: Week 03, 2011". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kanye West & Jay-Z – H•A•M" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  20. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  21. ^ "Kanye West & Jay-Z – H • A • M" (in Russian). Tophit. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (2011.01.16 – 2011.01.22)". Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on March 28, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  24. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  26. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  27. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - 2011 Year End Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  28. ^ "American single certifications – Jay-Z & Kanye West – H A M". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  29. ^ "H•A•M – Single by Jay Z & Kanye West". iTunes Store. Apple. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  30. ^ "H•A•M (Edited Version) – Single by Jay Z & Kanye West". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  31. ^ "Kanye West & Jay-Z – H*A*M – Issue 819". The Music Network. Surry Hills (819). January 17, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  32. ^ "Urban/UAC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on January 25, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2013.

External links[edit]