The hottest hip-hop concert of the summer, HOT 97's Summer Jam 2014, kicked off this afternoon at Met Life stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The summer officially begins when top hip-hop and R&B station WQHT HOT 97 presents the legendary event. Some of the brightest stars in the entertainment industry have performed on the Summer Jam stage, including Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, and the late great Notorious B.I.G.
The Summer Jam 2014 Festival Stage performances began at 2:30 p.m. with a high-energy performance by the McDonald’s dancers. Indie artists brought their “A-game” to the thousands of fans in attendance, and competed for $1,000 and a record deal courtesy of the “Official Video App” of Summer Jam, Keek.
Iggy Azalea was the first major artist to perform on the Festival Stage, and had fans singing along to her top 100 hit “Fancy,” and other singles from her chart-topping album, The New Classic. The ladies went crazy for multi-talented artist Mack Wilds, who gave a well-rounded performance of up-tempo and slow jams. The crowd went equally wild for Jhene Aiko, and Childish Gambino, who has an incredible stage presence.
Several females told Examiner.com that they came early for the Festival Stage just to see August Alsina, and the “I Luv This S---“ singer did not disappoint. The final performances of Alsina, Chinx, and Nipsey Hussle had the crowd screaming so loudly that those who left early to get in line to enter the stadium were jealous.
Sevyn Streeter was the first artist to hit the Stadium Stage and she was underwhelming. She put more energy into yelling “Free Breezy” than she did into her whole performance. Troy Ave did his thing, but was definitely upstaged by Action Bronson performing barefoot on top of a speaker, crawling into the photographer pit, climbing into the audience, still barefoot, and performing among the fans. When a random guy passed Bronson a blunt, and a random girl twerked on him, it all seemed natural.
Wiz Khalifa gave an incredible performance that definitely channeled a bit of his idol, Jimi Hendrix. In one of the night’s first surprises, Snoop Dogg joined him on stage for a little Chronic 2001 and “Young, Wild & Free.” The aroma from the weed smoke threatened to become overwhelming, even from thousands of feet in the air in the stadium’s press box.
HOT 97's own DJ Mister Cee consistently delivers amazing sets! Definitely a living legend! Speaking of legendary, The Roots are celebrating 20 years in the music industry, and had a couple surprises during their performance. They brought out not only The Lox but Dres from iconic hip-hop group Black Sheep.
Tre Songz performed all of his hits, including "Neighbors Know My Name," "Dive In," and "Na Na," and Ty Dolla $ign joined him for the smash hit "Paranoid." The climax of the performance was when he lost the shirt, unveiling his gym body and expansive chest and back tattoos for the female fans.
DJ Camilo killed his set and some of the ladies of HOT 97 (Angie Martinez, Miss Info, and Laura Stylez) brought out Nas! He brought it back to when hip-hop was HIP HOP with "Life's a B----" and "Represent." Over 20 years in the game-- another living legend. The crowd went bananas when he brought out Meek Mill and French Montana, and were treated to their hits "Dreams and Nightmares" and "Ain't Worried About Nothin."
There was a moment of shocked silence when Nas transitioned between his hit "Hate Me Now" and 50 Cent's "I Get Money" and 50 himself came out. He performed a couple of hit singles before bringing out the rest of G-Unit-- Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck-- for a quick trip through their solo and group hits. Yo Gotti and Fabolous also hopped on stage during the star-studded set. 50 and company were on stage so long that management had to cut his mic off. The reggae set with Bobby Konders and Bunji Garlin was way too short, though. Perhaps 50's extended set cut into Bunji's time?
Nicki Minaj had some technical difficulties at the start of her set, but things looked up after she brought out Young Thug for their hot collab "Danny Glover Remix." She treated the stage like her runway-- strutting across its length wearing a metallic, sheer, crop top with silver pasties, and houndstooth pants. Nicki had a playful performance with Souljah Boy during "Yass Bish," and showed her vulnerable side on "For Life" before bringing out Drake and Lil Wayne. The truncated performances of "Worst Behavior," "Trophies," and "Loyal" were over as fast as they began, but the crowd was excited to see the YMCMB members no less.
Unfortunately, the end of the YMCMB performance felt like the end of the Summer Jam concert, and some of the 50K+ attendees left the stadium before superstar producer DJ Mustard (#MustardOntheBeat) unleashed his flurry of hits on the crowd. Thankfully, with an audience that size, there were still thousands of people remaining to hear Ty Dolla $ign perform "Paranoid," and grab Kid Ink when he jumped in the crowd during "Show Me." The enormity of the remaining crowd was felt even more when A$AP Ferg came out.
"Work" received one of the biggest reactions of the night, but was interrupted by technical problems. When the sound was restored, Ferg performed "Shabba," and the energy was right back up. YG and Jeezy performed their Mustard-produced hits, and the night ended with what Mustard called his s***, "Vato."
Check out the slideshow to see photos from Summer Jam 2014! All photos used with permission.
Summer Jam 2014 was presented by Beck’s Sapphire and made HOT by Beats, Pepsi, McDonald’s Sweet Tea, Keek, MetroPlus Health Plan, XXL Magazine and Year Up.
UPDATE: Although it was hard to tell at the time, there was a fight on stage while 50 Cent and Fabolous were performing. Rumor has it that at least one member of Slowbucks was beat up by 50's entourage and had their chain snatched. Will have to see how this plays out.