June 3, 2018

2011: Rick Ross Takes on Summer Jam + Remembering the Icons Music Lost

Summer Jam
2011: Rick Ross Takes on Summer Jam + Remembering the Icons Music Lost
Photo Credit: Jphnny Nunez/Getty Images

2011 was an epic year for hip-hop — and even better for Summer Jam. 

Rick Ross was living the high life and blowing money fast after the release of his fourth LP, Teflon Don; Waka Flocka was still going hard in the paint with the release of Flockaveli; Lloyd Banks was riding out in a Beamer, Benz, or Bentley; Fabulous was repping Brooklyn non-stop; and Young Money was at a collective high. So Hot 97 figured what better way to celebrate 365 days of musical motivation than by inviting everyone to perform at the party and then some.


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Photo by: 
Deneka Peniston


The lineup included everyone from Chris Brown to Wiz Khalifa to Dipset to all the names listed above to Young Moola, Baby! And as the saying goes, it was lit! The show may have even had a surprise guest (or two or three). But during a year of celebration, hip-hop hearts were heavy as the culture laid some of its greatest to rest. 

So as we look back at one of hip-hop’s best years of good music, we’re also here to remember the icons that paved a way.  

Heavy D

November 8

Cause of Death: Pulmonary Embolism

Heavy D

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

When Heavy D came on the scene, he had nothing but love for everybody. And everybody loved him back. He was the Mr. Nice Guy with the smooth records that sang through the speakers at all the clubs, all the parties, and all the family gatherings you can think of. 

The Heavyweight Lover dropped nine albums — four solo projects and six with Heavy D & the Boyz —over 24 years, with his last (Love Opus) releasing less than two months before he died. 

Nate Dogg

March 15

Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure

Nate Dogg

Photo Credit: Paul Warner/Getty Images

Nate Dogg was the hook king of the West Coast. 

He made his musical debut on The Chronic in 1992. Two years later he made a cameo on Warren G’s “Regulate” followed by an appearance on 2Pac’s “All Bout U” housed on the iconic All Eyes on Me LP. And this was all before his debut album, G-Funk Classics, Vo1. & 2, came out in 1998.

Known for his hard-to-forget hooks and collaborations created on the West Coast, Nate Dogg’s hooks led people to call him the Soul Man of G-Funk.

Amy Winehouse

July 23

Cause of Death: Alcohol Toxication

Amy Winehouse

Photo Credit: Chris Cristoforou/Getty Images

Amy Winehouse was talented, spirited, and way gone too soon.

Though the British-bred singer was only able to release two albums during her career, her impact on music and pop culture will be timeless.

Amy released her first album, Frank, released in 2003 when she was just 20 years old. Her vocals gave soul music new meaning as she bellowed skin-tingling sounds that made your heart soar. Three years later, she released her Grammy Award-winning Back to Black album. The project’s hit single was was called “Rehab,” something Amy avoided until her death.  

Nick Ashford

August 22 

Cause of Death: Cancer

Nick Ashford

Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images

Nick Ashford was one-half of the unforgettable singing duo Ashford & Simpson. Together Nick Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson were a song-writing production team that created songs like “Get Out Your Handkerchief” and “By Way of Love’s Express.” Over the years, artists have sampled their tracks more than 150 times. 

In 1999, Ashford received one of his greatest honors: ASCAP’s Founder’s Award, which is the organization’s highest honor. Their catalog of music will be relevant for years to come.