Jay-Z Stabs Lance “Un” Rivera – Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Dec. 2, in hip-hop history...
In 1998, Marcy's favorite son started tapping into the pop radio ubiquity that would define his career, with the singles from that year's Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life dominating airwaves and MTV. Vol. 2 debuted atop the Billboard charts and he took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album over Ma$e, Big Pun, A Tribe Called Quest and Jermaine Dupri; the lead single from Dupri's Life in 1472 featured—you guessed it—Jay-Z.
By the end of 1999, Jay had his sights set even higher. His fourth LP, Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter was sure to be a commercial juggernaut. Sure, that is, until the record fell victim to rampant bootlegging. The rap rumor mill suggested producer Lance "Un" Rivera was responsible for the leak. Fast forward to early December. Midtown's now-defunct Kit Kat Klub was going up on a Thursday; the occasion was the release party for Q-Tip's Amplified.
According to police reports, Jay and his entourage arrived shortly after midnight, and upon their arrival, approached Rivera and caused a melee. The facts: Rivera was stabbed with an eight or nine-inch blade, but not before he and at least one of his friends had a bottle broken over their heads. Jay left the club before the dust could settle. From the New York Daily News: "[W]hen it was over, rapper Charli Baltimore was cradling the hulking Rivera in her arms and Q-Tip was crying onstage." In short, it was a mess.
Jay turned himself in to authorities the next day, kicking off a legal battle that would last exactly two years and culminate in a three-year probation sentence. (He eventually pleaded guilty, despite what he said on "Izzo.")
Seventeen years after the incident, Cam'ron brushed the dust off that faithful night in a 2016 interview with DJ Whoo Kid. According to Killa, the beef was actually over Charli Baltimore, not the leaked album.
It’s been said that Charli Baltimore had a romantic relationship with The Notorious B.I.G. prior to Biggie’s death in 1997. Cam’ron told DJ Whoo Kid, “Jay liked Charli at one time, and that [used to be] Big’s girl.” Rivera, a close affiliate of Biggie’s, who is often credited with helping carve out his musical vision, wasn’t happy about Jay stepping out with his late friend and collaborator’s ex-girl. Cam’ron says, “They can say a song leaked or whatever, but it was over Charli Baltimore.”
Now it's all said and done.
See Photos of Jay-Z's Different Looks Over the Years