H.A.M.

Album: Watch the Throne (2011)
Charted: 30 23
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single from Kanye West and Jay-Z's collaborative album, Watch The Throne. The song finds the two stars spitting R-rated braggadocio lyrics about their sexual contests and wealth.
  • The acronym title has nothing to do with a pork product. It refers to a phrase which features in the song's chorus, "hard as a motherf--ka".
  • The song was produced by Virginia beatsmith Lex Luger, whose other credits include Rick Ross' "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" and Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard in Da Paint." Luger, who was just 19 when he helmed the cut, told MTV News: "Kanye let me do me on the tracks made for him. He told me just send him beats, whatever sound I feel he can bring something new to and send it."
  • Kanye and Jay have been collaborating together since 2001, when the then little-known West produced Hov's first Top 10 single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)."
  • Leger expanded to MTV News regarding collaborating with West on this tune: "'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."
  • When West raps, "Like Eli I did it, jokes on you," he's referring to Eli Porter, who became an internet sensation after failing miserably in a high school rap battle. Eli was roundly mocked, but he became famous - there was even a documentary made about him.
  • This was only a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Watch The Throne. Jay-Z explained during an interview with Lorenzo "Ice Tea" Thomas on Miami's radio station 99 Jamz that the pair didn't feel it sat well with the other tracks on the album's standard edition. Said Jay: "I just wanted people to really enjoy and experience the album for the first time together. The way we wanted it to be heard. Once you hear snapshots, like you hear 'H.AM.,' '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. We just wanted people to hear the album how we intended it."
  • "H.A.M." was the first song Kanye and Jay played on every stop of the Watch the Throne tour. The concert designer Laura Escudé, who started working with Kanye West in 2011 doing his live vocal effects, is also a classically trained violinist and played on the Watch the Throne track "Made In America." She created a violin intro that was used at the beginning of this song during the concerts.

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