Summer Jam 2014 was one for the record books and if you weren’t in the building to witness history, we’re sorry to hear so.
From the Festival Stage to the Stadium Stage, no one on the line up disappointed. Probably because artists know that if you’re billed for the biggest hip hop concert in the world, you’re going to have to bring your A game and then some…and they certainly did.
Jhene Aiko wowed in a blue get up and brought out her good friend Childish Gambino (who also had a set) to perform with her at the Festival Stage. Iggy Azalea got “Fancy” with her group of dancers and yes the were was plenty of butt shaking. Mack Wilds repped for Shaolin in his outfit which was an ode to the Wu Tang XXL cover. Chinx, August Alsina, and Nipsey Hussle, all kicked off #SJ2014 and it was a great set up for what was to come inside! All of the artists played their hits, new songs and the crowd ate it all up.
It was an ill line up….one of the best Festival Stage line ups we’ve had to date.
The Stadium Stage can be summed up into one word -- epic. Sevyn Streeter kicked off the concert looking smoking hot while Troy Ave brought out T.I during his performance alongside his BSB crew. Action Bronson created an “SJ Moment” when he went barefoot onto the stage and jumped into the crowd.
Wiz Khalifa brought the swag and ganja with him when he performed. The hip hop rockstar surprised fans when he brough out the OG, the originator, Snoop Dogg! Seeing the two of them together sent chills through my body. It was so awesome to see the man Wiz idolizes on stage with him…I mean Wiz is a spitting image of a young Snoop!
Another key moment of the Summer Jam 2014 was backstage as the legendary hip hop group The Roots were setting up and getting ready celebrate 20 years together with 55,000 plus fans. Questlove and his famous afro hopped on the drums, while the entire band, which included a tuba and a DJ, prepared to touch the stage. When that stage turned and the audience saw Black Thought on the mic and Questo on the drums, they erupted. Many wondered what surprises The Roots would bring since they were celebrating 20 years and all of them were NY. The Roots kept it NY and jammed with hip hop groups The Lox and M.O.P!
It was no surprise that the ladies went crazy for Trey Songz. He belted out hit after hit and even showed love to Chris Brown, who as you all may know, was locked up until today. Oh, and when he took his shirt off? The girls almost fainted.
Nas crept up on stage with a bottle of Hennessy in hand and kept it straight Queensbridge when it was his turn. Playing hits from his classic Illmatic album, you couldn’t help but feel you were back in 1994 with that NY State of Mind as you nodded and rapped along to every song he did. The surprises this legend had in store seemed endless! One of them was introducing someone who he deemed was one of the best in the game, Meek Mill. Meek performed a couple of songs and was later joined by French Montana to do “They Don’t Love You No More”. The stage was literally jumping due to the entire stadium going HAM for this record!
But the best part of Nas’ set was when he called out fellow Queens native, 50 Cent, onto the stage. That moment when the two stood there, together, and staring in to the sea of people is one that will be etched into every hip hop fan’s mind forever.
The return of 50 Cent to the Summer Jam stage in over 10 years was special to see and he pulled out the stops for the 20 minutes he had. 50 performed cuts off his album “Animal Ambition” and went into some of his old hits with the help of, yes, G-Unit! And not just Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks, 50 brought our Young Buck too! I know you all remember the beef with him and Buck right? Needless to say, this G-Unit reunion was another one of those “SJ Moments”. Just, wow.
Now if that wasn’t enough, 50 Cent also had Yo Gotti, Trey Songz and Fabolous touch the stage with him.
Then of course, it was the Queen of the night, Miss Nicki Minaj. Nicki took it back to her mixtape days for this one. No gimmicks, no special wigs or crazy make up, no special effects – just her and a DJ. Nicki performed her new song “Pills N Potions”, along with records off of her last album and some of the features she did over the years. Simply put, she commanded the stage with her presence. We all know the history of Nicki and Summer Jam so to see her being embraced despite it all was amazing to witness.
Gotta give it to it her though, she really knows how to get a concert going with her songs and her words. She bamboozled everyone when she yelled out “I don’t f--- with Drake no more!” You can literally hear the gasps in the stadium and I, myself, turned to the girl next to me and we both were in shock. But what happened next? “Worst Behavior” plays and Drake comes scurrying out to do his hit record. Yeah, she got us lol. That was clearly a shot at all the people who’ve said the two aren’t on good terms. Now if you needed anymore confirmation, their 30 second straddle-fest was the nail in the coffin to those rumors.
With so much going on in her set already, I didn’t know what else to expect. But when I looked to my far right and I saw someone running onto the stage with a yellow mask on, my first thought was “Ahh yes of course!”. The masked man took of his disguise and show his face, viola Lil Wayne. Hip hop and it’s fans will always have love for Weezy and Summer Jam 2014 proved it. Whenever he performs, it truly is magical. Drizzy, Wayne and Nicki did a medley of hits together and there was no shortage of acknowledgement between the three of them.
Last but not least, DJ Mustard, YG, Kid Ink and Ty Dolla $ign were the cherry on top to an already incredible show! It was dope to see the West Coast movement takeover at Summer Jam 2014 as they all performed their hit records like “My Hitta”, “Main Chick” and “Paranoid”. Young Jeezy also made a surprise appearance and ASAP Ferg hopped on stage to do his infectious hit “Shabba Ranks”!
Besides what was happening on stage, backstage at Summer Jam was jam packed with celebrities. Rihanna was on sight taking in Nicki Minaj’s performance, Khloe Kardashian was there rooting on her boo French Montana, Birdman was in the building, T.I and so much more were backstage! And as always, our HOT 97 DJs kept the crowd moving at all times.
As you can see, Summer Jam 2014 was truly special and hip hop fans witnessed moments that they’ll never forget. I kind of feel like I say that every time I write a recap for Summer Jam but in all honesty, all of our SJ concerts are memorable because artists understand the magnitude of it. This is not your average concert!
What I loved most about this year’s SJ though was the merging of artists from both sides of the country into one event. It wasn’t a matter of who was from NY that fit the bill, it was about who was dope and made noise in music on a large scale. So, what is the lesson to be learned here? Only HOT 97 can bring you hip hop on this level.
See you all at Summer Jam 2015!
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