Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam concert is more than just a gathering of musical talents. It’s a representation of where music currently stands and it showcases the evolution of hip-hip and R&B year after year. On Sunday (June 11) Summer Jam 2017 kicked off at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and not only was it an entertaining display of creative genius but it was also nostalgic and memorable.
To help prep the concert-goers for the stadium performances, a great bunch of musical acts put their talents to the test on the festival stage which is set up in the parking lot of MetLife. The festival stage has always been a great staple for Summer Jam throughout the last 20 years of it’s run and it’s purpose is to help all up-and-coming rappers and singers broaden their audience with the wish of one day making it to the stadium stage. Acts like Dave East, Young M.A., Lil Yachty, D.R.A.M., Casanova and more got the crowd hype for what was to come in the stadium that seated a sold out crowd of 60,000.
Thousands of attendees took their seats as one of musics most promising rappers took the stage: Desiigner. After having a stellar 2016 with his multi-platinum selling single “Panda” and of course his “Timmy Turner” record, the G.O.O.D. Music artist took the stadium stage and turned it into his playground. He jumped around on stage and then made his way into the photo pit. After mingling with the photographers the young and energetic MC got into the crowd where he stood up on the barricades as he was accompanied by security guards. But this was all just the beginning. Pro Era rapper Joey Badass followed that performance up with his All Amerikkkan Bada$$ single “Devastated.” With the crowd heavily involved and in tune to what he presented, Joey didn’t stop there. He then brought out Mobb Deep who performed their classic “Quiet Storm.”
The stadium stage began to catch ablaze as acts started pouring onto it, exciting the crowd with their tunes. Toronto-born rapper/singer Tory Lanez popped out as he gave off some of his Caribbean vibe which then led to a follow-up by some real Caribbean talent: Konshens, Charley Black, and Shaggy – all sorts of variation and energy to feed off of. The performance that stole the show is when Fat Joe popped out with his never-aging anthem “Lean Back”, which was prepared festival goers for Remy Ma’s “Conceited” record. Remy paraded around the stage like she knew she was in charge of the rap game but to help her out, she brought along plenty of other female friends. The 60K in attendance became frantic when Young M.A. hit the stage to perform her noted record “OOOUUU.” Soon after, Remy’s fellow Bronx native Cardi B came through and then Queen Latifah made an appearance with her timeless song “U.N.I.T.Y.” Lil Kim helped out too, turning the segment of the show into the “Rap Queens” segment of Summer Jam. But as headliner, of course Remy had to leave out with a bang; while although the beef between her and Young Money musician Nicki Minaj seemed to have been squashed, Remy wasn’t letting that go. She ignited the stage with her performance of “ShEther,” her Nicki Minaj diss record. Not only did Remy perform that particular track but in true Summer Jam fashion, she plastered anti-Nicki memes all over the Summer Jam big screens.
Soon after, Atlanta rap trio Migos took the stage to perform their noted songs “Bad and Boujee,” “T-Shirt” and then brought out 2 Chainz to perform their collab effort “Deadz.” The trio’s set included an appearance from DJ Khaled who was accompanied by his beloved son, Asahd to perform some of his hit classics like “All I Do Is Win.”
Trey Songz took the floor with Harlem rapper Dave East followed by fantastic display of excellence from Chris Brown as he brought out DMX. Other acts midway through Summer Jam included Meek Mill, Playboi Carti, Juelz Santana, A$AP Rocky and Casanova who made his way to the stadium stage during Funk Flex’s “Funk Flex and Friends” set.
The glorious and star studded night was closed out by a “20 Years of B.I.G.” performance which included everyone person and group who was involved with the late great rapper before and after his tragic passing in 1997. Lil Kim, Faith Evans, 112, The Lox, Total, Junior Mafia, Dougie Fresh and Mister Cee were all apart of the tribute, however unfortunately there was no Puff Daddy. Each song and performance was a nostalgic touch to what was given to us as music and Hip Hop fans in the mid and late 90’s but most importantly, it represented what the Notorious B.I.G. stood for as his legacy was embraced by his peers and the sold out crowd of Summer Jam 2017.
This annual concert is a strong center piece for the New York culture of music, the culture overall. As new acts begin to break into the music industry with new sounds, looks, and rhythms, Summer Jam will continue to thrive and become a place where musical efforts are displayed and praised.