When Jay-Z dropped a few factually correct references to MC Hammer’s well-publicized money troubles on Kanye’s “So Appalled” back in September, a bewilderingly irate Hammer promised a retaliation would come on Halloween night. Well, true to his word, the erstwhile dance-rap phenomenon (now going by King Hammer) released his Jay-Z attack track and video, “Better Run Run,” this weekend — and it’s far more engaging than one could have ever imagined possible. That’s because Hammer wisely avoids going after Jay on traditional beef-rap subjects like cultural relevancy or financial solvency, in order to not as wisely go after Jay for selling his soul to the devil.
No, really. Representative lyric: “Devil said, ‘Imma give you the world’ / ‘I’ll take it, plus give me a girl’ / ‘Mr. Devil, can you give me a sign’ / He said, ‘Throw the Roc up, that’s one of mine.’” Wow, that sounds even crazier written down! And it’s nothing compared to the video: After a meandering intro plugging Hammer’s MMA’s agency Alchemist Management (you can’t make this stuff up, folks), we see a chubby Jay-Z stand-in being chased through the woods by the devil. The devil is wearing a rubber Party City mask and jeans. At one point, fake Jay-Z and the devil are bopping their heads in a recording studio together, and it looks like the devil is suggesting lyrics (“JESUS can’t save you,” etc.) Eventually Hammer defeats the devil and force-baptizes fake Jay. And not to nitpick, but it’s so unrealistic: In the video, the Jay-Z character wears a Yankees fitted with the sticker still present, but in real life Jay’s caps are always sticker-free.