Hot 97 Summer Jam : Summer Jammed Up
Native New Yorkers and inhabitants of the tri-state area have enjoyed the thrill that legendary hip-hop radio station Hot 97 brings each year with its annual Summer Jam concert. Since 1994, the over-the-top concert has served two purposes: 1. a quick-formatted Billboard run down of the hottest acts in hip-hop and 2. an unofficial start of summer fun in the city. Each year billed acts, try to leave their mark on the Summer Jam stage that will hopefully go down in the annals of hip-hop history.
This year, however, most of the action was taking place outside of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Concertgoers became irate when they were denied entry into the Jam due to an earlier incident that forced organizers to shut down any further entry. Hot 97’s official statement on the mayhem explains, “ a small number of people created an unsafe environment, and for the safety of all guests, the New Jersey State Police were on scene to disperse the crowd.” People outside of the venue were reported to have thrown bottles at police, and troopers tear-gassed crowds in an attempt to disperse them. Several people claimed to have been maced as well. Overall, 60 people were arrested at the event.
However, all of the excitement outside, overshadowed the magic going on inside. Rapper Fabolous brought out a consortium of high-profile artists that were humbly referred to as “friends” on the bill. His set included a throw back to guests that included: Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Method Man, Red Man, Raekwon. Lil Kim, and Mobb Deep. The nostalgic performances brought back memories of the 90’s when hip-hop artist collaborations became instant classics. The biggest surprise of the 20-minute routine was the finale when semi-retired, semi-reverend, and semi-rapper Mase came out to perform two songs from his Bad Boy heyday. Which led to also one of the most ironic moments of Summer Jam history: while the people were getting maced outside, concert goers were getting “Mased” inside.