I decided to kick-off my #SummerSixteen with a quick trip to New York and New Jersey for Hot 97 Summer Jam, the largest running hip-hop festival in the world! While it was short (too short), it was most definitely sweet. Below is my review on behalf of HipHopCanada. Enjoy!
East Rutherford, NJ – Originally published June 8, 2016 – Hot 97 Summer Jam certainly had it’s ups and downs this year, but the annual outdoor hip-hop festival was another one for the books. On June 5, MetLife Stadium went toe-to-toe with Mother Nature as severe weather warnings forced the Festival Stage (scheduled from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) to be officially cancelled and the Stadium Stage to be pushed back from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Not a great start, but the 55,000 fans in attendance wouldn’t let that ruin their Summer Jam.
With the traditional tailgate party going down in the parking lot, we stuck out the weather to enjoy a few beverages and BBQ as we waited for the gates to open at 8 p.m. Once MetLife allowed entry inside the stadium, the show almost went off with out a hitch.
New York’s own, Uncle Murda and Maino started things off with surprise guests 2 Milly. Picture the entire stadium breaking into the “Milly Rock.” Now let’s start the show!
Next up was the G.O.O.D. Music family, which made for the most epic moment of Summer Jam 2016. When the the line up was first announced in May, Hot 97 stated it as “G.O.O.D Music with Pusha T & Big Sean”. Being that Summer Jam is known for it’s surprise guests, fans had a hunch of who else could appear on this set, but nothing was certain.
It was everything you could imagine, plus 20 times more! Big Sean, Pusha T, Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Travis $cott, and Desiigner hit the stage donned in all black and matching Yeezy Boost 750s. The entire stadium lost their minds!
Although Desiinger and Travis $cott aren’t signed with G.O.O.D. Music, their affiliation made perfect sense for them to share that moment. With both of their sets cut, due to the delays, it couldn’t have made for a better storybook ending. The crowd erupted as the group performed “Champion”, “Mercy”, “Don’t Like”,”IDFWU”, “Watch Out”, “Anidote”, “Grindin”, “Father Stretch My Hands,” “Panda” and more. You can’t make this shit up, you had to be there!
Bryson Tiller was next to take the stage, which was a sure highlight for the ladies. He performed fan-favourite “Don’t” and brought out Fabolous as a special guest to assist him with “Sorry Not Sorry” from his mixtape Summertime Shootout. Even though the R&B vibes slowed down the tone a bit, Bryson’s set seemed to be well-recieved by the crowd.
The Terror Squad took their turn on the Stadium Stage featuring Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Tony Sunshine and surprise guests Ashanti and French Montana. Their set was a showcase of their most memorable hits including “Lean Back”, “New York”, and “What’s Luv?” They paid tribute to the late Big Pun with “Still Not A Player”, “It’s So Hard” and “Twinz.” There’s no doubt Terror Squad tore up that stage as they closed their set with Remy Ma, Fat Joe and French Montana’s summer-anthem “All The Way Up.”
Despite some of the acts who were cut from the Stadium Stage (Young Thug, Kid Ink and Tinashe), everything was running smoothly. All until a fight broke out on the floor, causing the show to be placed on a security hold for over 30 minutes! This was yet another set back to a show that had already been delayed for almost 3 hours. Not good.
Once the security hold was finally lifted, the show went on with A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and the entire A$AP Mob. It seemed that the floor section was still jilted from the fight, as Rocky stopped the music during “Lord Pretty Flocko Jodye 2” to address the crowd, “Hold up! Cut that shit, this a party! Ya’ll not movin’ enough!” The vibe had definitely shifted, as the lights stayed on for the remainder of the show but the A$AP Mob wasn’t having any of that.
Despite the circumstances around their set, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg still murdered it and had the crowd LIT when performing “Work (Remix)”, “Shabba” “New Level” and “Yamborghini High.”
Next up was a Major Key Alert. DJ Khaled didn’t waste anytime diving into his star-studded set, bringing out Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Movado, M.O.P., Ty Dolla $ign, Kent Jones, Yo Gotti, O.T. Genasis and The Lox. We were back! At least we had hoped we were.
As we were blessed with performances from “Pop That,” “Ante Up”, “Blasé,” “Cut It,” “Down In The DM” and more – MetLife Stadium eventually had to cut off DJ Khaled’s set. And by cut-off, I mean that they pulled the plug mid way through The Lox and “We Gonna Make It”. It was heartbreaking but completely unavoidable.
MetLife Stadium had already extended Hot 97’s 11 p.m. curfew to 1:30 a.m., in hopes that would give them more time for the acts that were still scheduled to perform. With the fight breaking out midway through, it cost them another 30 minutes which could have been used to finish Khaled’s monster-set and to bring out Future (who was scheduled to perform last). Khaled’s set had ran into 1:30 a.m. and sadly Summer Jam 2016 was a done deal.
We later found out that Khaled also had Usher and Chance The Rapper waiting in the wings as surprise guests. Drake allegedly had a private jet waiting from L.A. to New York (likely to have been Future’s surprise guest) but was canceled due to the weather.
As much as I think of “what could have been,” Summer Jam 2016 was absolutely one to remember. Hot 97 still managed to pull off an amazing event, despite the odds that were against them. G.O.O.D. Music had never performed on the same stage at the same time and we witnessed the historic event inside MetLife Stadium. To see that many artists, the hottest in the game, perform on stage in a mere three hours was remarkable. Thank you Hot 97. What a night!
HOT 97 Summer Jam is made HOT by FilmOn, EXPG, McDonald’s All Day Breakfast, Swisher Sweets International, Nutrament, Dello Russo Laser Vision, MetroPlus Health Plan, Fresh Empire, and Monster Blaster.