Did you miss hip-hop's biggest concert? Not to worry. Here's an in-depth recap of the highs and lows of this year's Summer Jam.
Summer's here, and festival season has arrived. Unfortunately, for hip-hop heads, most of the summer's premier music destinations are filled with laptop DJs or bands that introduced your parents to LSD 40 years ago. Luckily, for all of us on the East Coast, there's Summer Jam. Though it's just one day, the HOT 97-curated concert features over 10 hours of straight hip-hop in Giants' stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
HOT 97 is a New York station, the Giants are a New York team, and Summer Jam is New York's premier concert. No matter where the talent hails from, most artists make the effort to do a little something extra for New York, whether that means dropping a verse over a Biggie classic or simply yelling out each of the five boroughs throughout their performances. Though there weren't too many NYC artists on this year's bill, we were constantly reminded that this is a celebration of New York and the hip-hop tradition the city created.
In larger scope, though, it's a celebration of the entire genre. Obviously, there's a lot going on outside of New York, and artists from across the country make sure to wear their hometown badges as they come to strut their stuff in the big city. In between sets, the hottest local DJs, from HOT 97 and elsewhere, spin a mix of trending hits and '90s classics in an effort to include everyone, young and old, under the ever-expanding hip-hop umbrella.
Transfer an artist from the solace of his or her home studio to one of America's biggest football stadiums, in front of 30,000 people, and you've got two different artists. Some deliver, some don't. Even if your favorite artist doesn't meet your expectations, though, the sheer gathering of so much talent in one place ensures a surefire spectacle. Of course, leading up to Summer Jam, we all read between the lines of the artists listed on the bill, and often, as was the case this year, the most exciting talent comes as a complete surprise.
Though most of the headlines you've probably read today touch on the riots that occurred outside the stadium, I assure you it was a different story inside. Not without its flaws, Summer Jam remains an indelible part of the hip-hop tradition, and every year, at the very least, it provides an outlook on the current state of the genre and the obstacles and opportunities awaiting it in the near future.