Young Jeezy looks out at the massive 2012 Summer Jam audience
Despite all the mishaps on June 3, Hot 97 proved to 55,000 hip-hop fans why Summer Jam is and forever will be the biggest concert of the year. There’s never a dull moment on the first Sunday of June in East Rutherford, NJ – from the inclement weather conditions to surprise performances and unexpected debacles that occasionally results in the headliner being removed from the lineup – the combination of nutcrackers, sour and over 10+ hours of great music always makes for a memorable experience! So if you’ve never been, I highly recommend you find a way to get yourself to the 20th anniversary in 2013.
Moving forward. Before sh*t hit the fan, morning on-air personality Peter Rosenberg expressed his distaste for Nicki Minaj’s Starships, causing Weezy to make an executive decision to forfeit her appearance. Here’s what happened. Moments before introducing Kendrick Lamar at Hot 97's festival village pre-show, Rosenberg shared a few words: "I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing 'Starships' later, I'm not talking to y'all right now, f**k that bullshit," he said. "Bullsh*t! I'm here to talk about real hip-hop shit." Peter, who is a hip-hop purist, has previously billed the Hot 100, top 5 hit as “the most sellout song in hip-hop history,” thereby pissing off over 12 million Barbz.
Maino was the first act to grace the main stage looking like a Million Bucks and demanding everyone put their Hands In The Air while Brownsville’s M.O.P. yelled Ante Up to Slaughterhouse. After doing the Hammer Dance, decibel levels increased further when Joe Budden decided to Pump It Up.
By then many concertgoers began to wonder who would fill the gaping hole meant to be occupied with guest spots from Beenie Man, Cam’ron and Foxy Brown. So Waka Flocka immediately plunged into the stands, said I Don’t Really Care and proceeded to initiate a Grove St. Party with No Hands alongside Wale. Wale, who was feeling himself, strutted around with confidence to Chain Music, bringing on Miguel to drop Lotus Flower Bombs on some ladies in the front row.
Bombs aside, it was North Carolina’s Cole World who had my undivided attention. Mr. Nice Watch represented for Roc Nation and gave the audience a much better Workout since I last saw him in 2010. Perhaps it was the easily forgettable assist from Trey Songz, who seemed to be overshadowed by Jermaine’s live band, or the fact that Cole appeared to be improving his overall stage presence.
Hot 97's DJs also made a lasting impression on the spectators as well. Mister Cee hands down did his thing spinning classic cuts from the 90’s, while Funk Flex continued throwing shots at Minaj throughout his set. "We ain't f**king with commercial rappers no more. If you lost the f**kin streets, it's your fault. If you don't go gold, it's your fault. I'm dedicated to be tearing you down," he added. "We gon' show you, mama. You think you didn't sell any records this time?" But it was Massive B’s Bobby Konders and Jabba who got me to show my Jamerican colors because of the dancehall medley that was supposed to ready us for Movado’s now cancelled set.
Instead, entering the stage to Who Dat, Young Jeezy Put On for the Bottom Of The Map, before making the dope boys Go Crazy as 2Chainz helped him bring out the Supa Freaks for some Thug Motivation. Jizzle kept the gangsta party going by bringing out T.I. for LoveRance’s Up remix, followed by Ne-Yo for Leave You Alone.
Being that he never performed on the main stage, Big Sean had some mighty shoes to fill after the Snowman’s exit; and did like it was his last, donning a blue robe, while sipping some Chardonnay and listening to Marvin Gaye. It wasn’t easy, but he quickly broke the ice by showing his Ass. Continuing his G.O.O.D. Music set Pusha T, came out begging for Mercy and screaming at the top of his lungs.
Tity Boi later returned to start a Riot, when the biggest surprise occurred: “The Voice Of New York” introduced a hip-hop legend that hadn’t been at Summer Jam in 12 years – Nas, who began reciting lyrics from Made You Look and Hate Me Now. Soon after, the beat for Ready Or Not drops, and out walks Lauryn Hill to join Mr. iLLMatic on If I Ruled The World. She didn’t hit all the right notes, but it was enough to have everyone in a frenzy.
And as the show began to lose momentum, French Montana brought out Ma$e to do some Slight Work. Right after the self-proclaimed shot caller closed his set, Meek Mill threw a House Party, took us to church with Amen, and then let it Burn. Affirming that he’s a boss, Meek also brought out the ever So Sophisticated Rozay decked out in Yella Diamonds and strapped with his 9 Piece.
Just when I thought J.Cole and God’s Son had the best performances of the night, the Teflon Don ended on a high note, giving probably the biggest nod to hip-hop by allowing Tical and The Chef to bring it all to a close with the ’93 classic, C.R.E.A.M.
Talk about an eventful night! Major love to Ebro Darden for pulling together an impeccable roster of both fresh and legendary talent at the very last minute. Definitely looking forward to next year!