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If you’re a fan of hip-hop music and you live on the East Coast of the US, you have no doubt heard about Hot 97’s Summer Jam, the annual hip-hop festival held annually in East Rutherford, New Jersey that features some of the most popular hip-hop, rap and R&B acts in the business.
While the hip-hop / rap summer festival type format was initially founded by San Francisco radio station KMEL back in the late 1990’s, the Summer Jam concert concept moved to the East Coast 20 years ago and never looked back. (Smaller versions of the annual event are still held in San Francisco by KMEL but aren’t on the same scale as the one on the East Coast. KKBT Radio in Los Angeles held a similar hip-hop concert during the 1990s but that was discontinued when the station switched formats.)
As in years earlier the best hip-hop talent from across the country (with a focus on New York) is going to be brought together for this year’s Hot 97 Summer Jam and their lineup is probably one of the best that they’ve ever had. On April 2 they announced it on their New York radio show and this year’s lineup looks like it’s going to be the finest ever, including a mix of old and new artists as well as crews and individuals from the Big Apple and all over the country as well.
Summer Jam is put on at MetLife Stadium, which is in East Rutherford, New Jersey and well known as the stadium where the New York Giants as well as the New York Jets, both from the National Football League, play their games every year. The festival features 2 stages including the main stage or Summer Jam Stage, and the Festival Stage, which is set up in the parking lot outside of the stadium and gets started the night before the fest officially starts.
This year the main stage will feature some New York City hip-hop giants like rapper 50 Cent, Nikki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne, Young Money and Nas. The West Coast is definitely well presented this year including Candy Inc., Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Mustard and YG. Action Bronson and Troy Ave will also be on hand as well as a number of veterans from Summer Jam including Trey Songs and Wiz Khalifa. Sevyn Streeter and the Roots will both make their first appearance at the festival this year as well.
One of the features of the Hot 97 Summer Jam is their more intimate Festival Stage that is set up in the parking lot outside of the stadium every year. Music actually gets started there befor the big show kicks off inside the stadium and this year a number of great groups and individual artists will be on hand to kick things off including Mac Wilds, August Alsina, Iggy Azalea, Childish Gambino, Nipsy Hustle and Chinx.
This year’s Hot 97 Summer Jam will begin on June 1 and is considered by many in the music industry to be the biggest and most significant rap concert of the year, with plenty of controversy to keep New York buzzing for days before and after and noteworthy appearances that usually make headlines in New York for weeks after it’s finished.
For example, back in 2012 when radio personality Peter Rosenberg made disparaging comments about Nicki Minaj’s new single “Starship”, (he called it ‘BS) the temperamental singer pulled out of the festival and rapper 50 Cent attacked Rosenberg in several New York media publications and on the radio for being unprofessional.
Controversy or not, the Hot 97 Summer Jam is far and away one of the biggest rap and hip-hop concerts of the summer and, for fans of the genre, a definite “can’t miss” opportunity to see some of their favorite artists perform live.