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SummerJam 09: still saving the world from wack concerts

In 2009 saving the world from wack anything is an accomplishment worthy of praise. The quality of everything from medicine to customer service has gone down significantly over the years. When it comes to music the cost of a major event or simply proper marketing has gone up so high that it has become virtually impossible for artists to determine the output. Everything is controlled by conglomerates. Even Nas had to change his album title because the corporate entity behind DefJam, Vivendi Universal, demanded it. When it comes to radio, things are even worse. Radio stations have been blamed for playing watered down Hip Hop or even worse, bad Hip Hop. The number one offender in New York is Hot 97. Right?  

 

So, why is it that Hot 97 plays more Jay-Z, Jadakiss, BIG and others than any other station? Why is it that SummerJam repeatedly brings out some of the biggest legends, year after year? Hot 97 is saving the world from wack concerts and does a pretty good job at that. After having Alicia Keys, Kanye West and many more there last year, SummerJam went down in history as the only occasion for Lil’Wayne and Public Enemy to occupy the stage on the same night. How do you outdo that? Perhaps it wasn’t about outdoing, it was just about putting together another phenomenal show.

 

In 2009 SummerJam took place for the last time at the Giants Stadium before demolition. The Hot 97’s guys added a different flava to the show this year. Heavily R&B-centric, with Mary J Blidge at the helm of the show, it brought out reggae sounds, old school Hip Hop and even Soulja Boy, all in one night. Special guests swarmed the stage and the sold out 50,000 person arena couldn’t get enough. Of course, Jay-Z got the most attention. With his Death of Autotune he seems to get lots of notice. Such an ambiguous title for a song to be performed next to the king of autotune, T-Pain, was somewhat balsy, but then again, Jay-Z can do just about anything. Backpedaling in interviews after, he explained it as an overabundance of anything isn’t good. In fact, he smacked perhaps the most controversial invention in Hip Hop as of late. Jim Jones, of course, must have been feeling a tad bitter that Camron didn’t join him on stage for a reunion. So, after the show he Twitter’ed the hell out of his page, saying all sorts of umpleasantries about Jay-Z, calling him a sucka for not getting out of his van to greet Jim Jones. Jimmy, just FYI: Jay-Z doesn’t go to you to greet you. You should be lucky to perform on the same stage with him.

 

So, Day 26 opened the show on the main stage. The sun was still out and Day’s performers danced to their tunes in the last rays of it. Pleasure P was right after. Serani, Mavado and Elephant Man added the reggae notes to the night of music and showed people what Jamaican energy brings with them. The Dream, who has become the newest R&B sensation, after writing songs for Beyonce, Mariah, Mary J and even getting a Grammy nomination for Rihanna’s Umbrella, he got on the mic himself and is causing ladies all over to melt to his music. He even brought out Fabolous to have him join in a song off of Loso’s Way. Jadakiss got on the stage next and reminded New York why he stands with the best when it comes to rap. Sheek Louch and Styles P joined him with D-Block classics; Jeremiah did Birthday Sex for the ladies by his side; Busta Rhymes jumped out to remind everyone to respect his conglomerate; and Swizz Beatz (without Alicia Keys) helped Jada figure out who’s real and who’s not.

 

Mary J Blidge was on next and although she didn’t close the show, unlike Jay-Z, her full set of music reminded people what a classic is all about. From Real Love to All I Need, with Method Man, the queen stood tall. She left the stage while Meth brought out Redman with him and did a couple of songs on their own. Then with a full band behind her, backup singers and 50,000 crazed fans she even did her own remix of Hate It or Love It, saying that the song speaks to her in a special way.

 

While the show was going on, in-between acts, Funkmaster Flex and other DJs held it down at the DJ booth. Jazzy Joyce chilled there with them. Angie Martinez and Tracy Morgan hosted the event and T-Mobile enjoyed non-stop advertisement throughout the show.

 

Then Young Jeezy came and the night went all Hip Hop and away from the gentle melodies of R&B. As Mary J was being ushered away backstage, going back to her shy demeanor, Drake joined Jeezy for a song and Jay-Z was right after. Separating D.O.A. from the song he initially jumped on the stage to he made sure that everyone heard him. T-Pain must have been hard of hearing, because not only did he bring autotune back to life on stage, but he also brought out Lil’ Kim and Maino. DJ Khaled was in full effect, while Akon and Rick Ross others were missing from the scene. Then Jim Jones and Juelz Santana got on stage, but with no sign of Dipset reunion the stadium, exhausted with overabundance of great music, began to fall apart. Even Jim Jones’ comments about Jay-Z being anti-party with D.O.A. and his slogans of love for Camron, he found himself a bit irrelevant at the end. Bringing out Soulja Boy with him to the New York audience didn’t help him much either, although Soulja Boy himself thought that being at that show meant that NY finally showed him some love.

 

Another great success for music, another year of a somewhat controversial, but nonetheless classy, SummerJam, another year of Hot 97 claiming its spot at the top. You can also look at it this way: one more time has the world been saving from a wack concert…

 

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Dmitriy Goldin

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05/22/2010
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