Summer Jam 2015 popped off Sunday at Metlife Stadium in Jersey boasting a full lineup of the best of the (mainstream) best, hosted by NYC’s Hot 97. This tradition, twenty some-odd years running, featured Chris Brown, Trey Songs, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Big Sean and plenty of surprises.
Parking lots were live from the rip. Grills, coolers, bottles of Henny; there was a heavy anything goes vibe from the outfits to the mindsets. Inside, Omarion kicked off the show with a brief set. The Maybach member got the crowd moving with Post To Be. Ty Dolla came next did his thing (shout out to his Lebron edge up), but it was his two guests that took control. Dej Loaf set it off to Try Me, and Wiz Khalifa tore it down with We Dem Boys.
Trey Songz…meh. Chris Brown…meh. R&B fans, mostly ladies, were grinning ear to ear, but neither managed to bring the intensity necessary for a hip hop show of this magnitude, even when Brown brought out G-Unit including 50 Cent. This would have been monumental a few years ago, but Many Men and What Up Gangsta have lost their luster in light of the massive year hip hop’s having in 2015.
On this night, the show belonged to Fabolous. He set it off with Lituation then proceeded to roll out the red carpet for hip hop perfection. Black Rob (literally, Whoa), Busta, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Red, Meth, Raekwon, Lil’ Kim, The Lox, and Ma$e all took turns rocking some of the greatest songs ever written. Billed as ‘Fabolous and Friends’, it was absolute fire.
Compton’s Kendrick Lamar came next and did his thing, rapping his ass off. No vocal track, no dancers, just a man and a mic. He brought out his TDE crew, including Schoolboy and SZA, while chaos was triggered outside. The gates were closed around 8 pm which kept some paying customers from the show. This prompted an attempt to scale fences, rush doors, pepper spray from Jersey State Police, and riot gear. Couldn’t tell there was a war going on outside that we were (mostly) safe from.
Big Sean rocked through his catalog of hits, including IDFWU, leaving the final slot to MMG torch bearer Meek Mill. He seemed comfortable in the lime light bringing Sean back out for Burn and Future who did a mini ten minute set. Meek pulled no punches and welcomed his lady pal Nicki Minaj to the stage. The crowd went ape shit to Only and Truffle Butter. Meek closed with Dreams and Nightmares. Best young rapper in the game? Argue amongst yourselves.
Last up? Troy Ave and Fetty Wap managed to wrangle the mics and get some songs in regardless of a crowd that was streaming for exits. Their awkward last minute set was fitting for a strange night full of fantastic hits and solid misses. Next year, stream it live if you’re afraid of the turn up.