Hot 97’s Summer Jam always seems to out-do itself in some way every year. This year was no different.
The parking lot at the new Meadowlands Stadium turned into an amusement park for adults over the weekend. Beautifully detailed cars rolled by at a snail’s pace, blasting new music, while the spectators enjoyed their drinks and tried their best to hide their weed from the circulating New Jersey State Troopers.
Two exploding cars later, Wiz Khalifa takes the stage and made the crowd of 60,000-plus chant to his most notable hits, a cue for every smoker in the crowd to light up something serious.
Fabolous made his presence felt with his long list of New York anthems and a chain that could probably feed half of Brooklyn for a month. Although his hit single resume is long, Fab was one of the first acts to hit the stage. You’d think he’d be later in the line-up, but oh well. Queens represented heavy in the form of G-Unit’s own Loyd Banks. His 40-minute set was the longest of the night, which included appearances from Mobb Deep, who performance some of their most notable hits.
Despite being shun in recent years, Chris Brown has risen above the smoke and earned a spot in fans’ hearts. He had an awesome set, stepping onto the stage with roaring cheers. His mic was a bit low, but that didn’t matter to the women in the crowd who were enjoying his shirtless dance routines. To close out things, he was joined by Busta Rhymes, who put an exclamation point for his final song, “Look at Me Now.” No one in the crowd could recite those double time lyrics, but they gave it their best shot.
It was a long day, so between sets Hot 97 DJs kept the crowd entertained with a slew of hits. Funkmaster Flex did his thing, however the flow of the performers and the DJ sets could have been timed a lil better — there were numerous awkward moments of dead air and mic checks. Mr. Cee also made his presence felt with a mean set, while the crowd seemed to almost forget that he just pleaded guilty to performing a lewd sex act in public with another man. Guess he’s over it now.
The biggest stutter step of the night came from Dipset, who performance lacked overall energy and caused the concession stands to overflow all at once. On the surface, they are technically back together, but their lack of synergy is very noticeable. Maybe it’s their time off, or age, but one could question if they really still vibe with each other like they once did. One of the best things about the Diplomats set was newcomer Vado’s performance, cranking out Harlem’s new uptempo/ party sound. However, if 200 of your friends are on the stage with you, they better be doing some kind of acrobatics or something entertaining, otherwise it’s kind of pointless.
Lil Wayne gave the people just what they wanted, a performance that will remain in the Summer Jam books forever. He brought his Young Money family out and lit the stage up with hits like “Bed Rock,” “I’m Single,” and “Miss Me.” Drake made a cameo as well, and he still looks like he trying to shake a fly off his hand while he is performing. But hey, it works for him.
The biggest boss that we have seen thus far capped off the evening. Although Rick Ross could have went without his bright yellow zip-up with his chest opened, his presence was definitely felt in that Stadium. His relevance in the game is so evident by the crowd’s response to his music. The Lex Luger-produced “Blowin’ Money Fast” set the tone for the rest of the night.
Jadakiss came out to represent for Yonkers and the night seemed to be finishing in just the right fashion. DJ Khaled made sure we knew he was there with his signature voice, while Maybach Music’s new signees, Wale and Meek Mills, also made cameo appearances.
Overall, Summer Jam 2011 was one of the best to date. Dope performances, some not so dope performances, and some unexpected surprises made for a memorable evening. The people were great, there was ton of energy in the crowd, and even State Troopers were pretty lenient on the smoking of the grass. The beer was cold too.
One thing is certain, with 60,000 asses in those seats at the Meadowlands Arena, Hot 97 will be able to pay their bills for the remainder of the year.