Despite Miguel, Wu-Tang & More’s Best Efforts, Summer Jam 2013 Underwhelms (Recap)
When a concert gets billed at as the biggest gig in the world, it’s expected that both the event planners and performers will deliver – especially after 20 years in the game. So upon receiving an invite to cover Hot 97’s 20th Anniversary showcase, I was automatically under the impression that I’d be witnessing some next level historic sh*t. Unfortunately, WQHT’s 2013 Summer Jam festival left this hardcore hip-hop fan feeling extremely underwhelmed rather than impressed toward the end of the night on June 2. That’s not to say there weren’t any highlights worth mentioning throughout my visit to East Rutherford, NJ; it just means that most of them were easily forgettable.
Of the many acts scheduled to appear on Sunday, Joe Budden’s appearance felt a little short-lived and under-appreciated despite his attempt to Pump It Up with a cameo from Slaughterhouse group member Joell Ortiz. Regardless, there was No Love Lost for the Jersey lyricist who opened the event. Shortly after, Miguel provided quite a few sensual jams including his smash-hit Adorn and P*ssy is Mine. And while his performance was Beautiful due in part to Mariah Carey, clad a pair of daisy dukes, it should also be noted that the seductive crooner was able to successfully take listeners on a Power Trip (courtesy of my favorite Roc Nation spitter J.Cole) without any Hulk Hogan leg drops in the stands.
Immediately following his exit, the gifted Wale Folarin did some Slight Work and dropped a few Lotus Flower Bombs of his own including the appearance of his fellow labelmate Meek Mill, who really captured the audience and turned the stage into one big House Party in a matter of minutes, which was very impressive.
But what was even more rousing was the amount of screams to be heard across The Hudson when Chris Brown showed off his Fine China just moments before Sean Kingston stepped out to the tune of Beat It. And although Wiz Khalifa was nowhere to be seen, Fabolous made Life So Exciting by allowing Pusha T. to join him during his set. Thankfully, the surprises didn’t stop there as the Brooklyn mainstay called on Lil’ Kim, who later professed that she still is, and forever will be the Queen B*tch no matter how many females try to steal her shine.
Still, my favorite part of the show featured the legendary Wu-Tung Clan who made me proud to be a product of the '80s. Though they struggled to keep the attention of the majority concertgoers, that were obviously born at a time when the old school emcees were past their prime, Wu-Tang certainly did a formidable job of reminding the young generation of what real hip-hop sounded like in the golden era. Except for someone in their late 20’s, it was tough to watch the crowd’s reaction to classics like C.R.E.A.M. and Rockwilder -- both huge records in the last 20 years. At one point, Method Man stopped mid-performance to lecture the youngin’s stating “all we ask is that you give us the same energy that we are giving to you”, which was low-key embarrassing.
Ultimately, the audience got turnt up once again, as 2 Chainz performed I Luv Them Strippers and Beez In The Trap alongside Nicki Minaj, who evidently made fans believe that she really squashed the beef with Peter Rosenberg by getting fairly close to the on-air personality as she headed backstage. Of course, I wasn’t entirely convinced though, considering she only rapped two guest verses before disappearing so A$AP Rocky could grace the main stage for the first time to perform Goldie, Peso and F*ckin’ Problems. The Harlemite’s A$AP crew so completely flooded the stage that folks hardly realized Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was also in attendance. Then, Kendrick Lamar literally made it rain with Poetic Justice sans Drake as he mouthed B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe to mother nature.
Inclement weather aside, French Montana, wasn’t Worried Bout Nothin’, so the Bronx-based artist vowed to shut down Met Life Stadium by allowing Ace Hood to drive out in a new Bugatti and long-time collaborators Lil’ Wayne and Rick Ross to accompany him for the bass-heavy Pop That.
To say that this year’s Summer Jam line-up boasted the hottest bill of the last two decades would be a lie, when Hip-Hop’s first billion-dollar power couple has shared the limelight in recent years to provide die-hard fans with a much more memorable experience. Honestly, I think the likes of Busta Rhymes, DMX, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, Nas, Redman and others undoubtedly should have been a part of this milestone in hip-hop; and since there wasn’t a defining moment during the 20th anniversary of Summer Jam, one can only hope that the station that prides themselves on being the #1 urban format in the New York area will do a much better job of taking hip-hop seriously come 2014.
* Photo credit, TheSource.com.