The Summer Jam Moment Is Dead

The very first concert I ever attended was 92.3 The Beat’s (for all my Los Angeles heads) Summer Jam concert maybe 10 years ago (I can’t exactly remember when). To this day I consider it one of my favorite concert moments, and when the special, “secret” guests performed – OutKast together, shortly before their breakup/hiatus/whatever they’re calling it these days – the entire crowd got to their feet and roared in ecstatic excitement, myself included.

When I used to live in Los Angeles, reading about, seeing pictures or watching footage of New York’s Summer Jam always intrigued me, as they fed into that intoxicating allure that the Big Apple was the Mecca of all things hip hop. Whether it was Jay-Z bringing out Michael Jackson on stage before inventing the “Summer Jam moment” by promptly dismembering Prodigy’s career in ways he’s still never recovered from, or the Diplomats having to replace Nas the following year amidst rumors he had planned on burning Jay in effigy, Summer Jam was the concert to check out for. Hell, it was part of the reason I wanted to move to New York.

Lately, however, that spark has dimmed rather significantly over the years, so much so to the point that I wonder if even the ideal of the summer concert itself is the same anymore. The core of the concert – the lineup – has lost that allure to me, but it’s probably because all of the artists I’d want to see in concert are either dead (save for random-ass Hispanic impersonators), old (I’d rather not see a Beatnuts set at this point in my life) or crazy (oh hai KRS-One). Age can prove to be a gift and a curse sometimes.

Since I’m on that topic, I do believe that one such reason could be the age factor. As we get older, lots of things that used to be fresh and innovative in its younger days doesn’t hold the same weight some five-plus years later. It was an amazing thing to see the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan at Rock The Bells in 2004, even if it would ultimately turn out to be one of the final times all nine of them would be in concert together. Now, a few years later, that energy ODB had is sorely missing, and while trying to replace him with one of his many kids is a consolation prize of sorts… well, who really cares about seeing one of Dirty’s thirteen children rap his old verses instead of Dirty himself?

Perhaps the concert has been losing to its little sibling, the free show (or, “free” if you know the proper channels), as well. Since I’ve moved out east I’ve attended more concerts than ever before and seen my fair share of performances from some of my favorite artists without so much as having to spend money on a cab ride home. So, why would I want to drop thrice that to spend a entire day surrounded by blistering heat, immature teenagers and expensive concession stand accoutrements at a venue where I can’t even see what’s going on stage unless I look at a giant monitor or wait for the footage to get sent to my inbox later that night?

You may not believe it, but there will likely never be another “Summer Jam screen” moment happening any time soon, unless it is something short of shocking. But there’s already some rock group that used to get a couple have sex on stage, so it’s gotta be crazier than that.

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    • kyle

      I strongly recommend ______ B l a c k W h i t e R o m a n c e * C o m ______ to you where I just found my interracial boyfriend! You know it is a great place to meet black men and beautiful women. What’s kind of relationship do you want?

  • these posts are racist

    Stop hating because DJ Khaled runs this rap ish…

    Hater. DJ Khaled all day.

    • Teddy

      Who fuck said anything about DJ Khalid?

      I mean sure he killed it but who else did anything close to entertaining. That was the point of the whole topic. Summer Jam sucks. Not because DJ Khalid sucks, but because only DJ Khalid did his thing and everybody else was lack luster. This had nothing to do one artist it was Summer Jam in general.

      • these posts are racist


        Perhaps you lack the ability to draw inference…Who did their thing and held it down at Summer Jam? DJ Khaled…apparently one Summer Jam Screen Shot of Jay putting Mobb Deep on blast for being ballerinas turned unshook ones is a win, but DJ Khaled unifying the Hip Hop Universe and bringing out live energy packed filled performances is not a win win win (no matter what)?

        That’s who the fuck said anything about DJ Khalid…check my stats playboy before you go toe to toe.

        • LEO

          This was my 5th straight year going to summerjam…out of all the years this was the only one that didn’t have an “oh shit!!!” moment (except for the dude from that shyne song coming out during Khaleds set…that was dope) DJ Khaled did not “run” summerjam this year, all his guest appearances were people everybody knew were already coming out (Fat Joe, Ross, Busta, Nikki) aint no surprise in any of that…there was no “oh shit” there…The Best set was Ludas…hands down…out performed everybody and their mother…Luda ran summerjam this year…I do miss the “Oh Shit!!!” moments though…Somebody shouldve gotten Jay, or 50 or Ye on the horn… :/ maybe next year…

  • n/a

    did this guy just say “DJ khaled run this shit” Pft Wow this shows just how much you know about the essence of summer jam.

    • these posts are racist

      Did you see this past Summer Jam?

      By a show of hands, who ran this year’s Summer Jam???

  • Mike G.

    Good post Meka. It’s funny that you brought this up. I was just talking to my lady about how I thought “Summer Jam’s” were played and I couldn’t believe that they still existed (BTW I’m out here in Hawthorne, CA). Mainly because they just seem like a giant waste of money and time. Oh well. Keep doing you brotha and keep the blogs coming.


  • andy

    man be quiet, i never thought i’d see the day when someone was an actual fan of dj khaled fan… or is that you khaled??

  • Meksoul

    Latest News: DJ Khaled’s Star-Studded Set Shuts Down Summer Jam 2010- 1 1/2 day ago

    (Courtesy of XXL)

  • these posts are racist

    you can’t please haters. Summer Jam’s “biggest moments” were when people famously beefed and embarrassed others. DJ Khaled brings Unity (no queen latifa) to the game and people hate and grow nostalgic for the days of old…There has never been a more unifying force in hip hop like that of DJ Khaled, this is great for Hip Hop and this past Summer Jam is evidence of his power and positive influence on our culture.

  • Pierzy

    Rock The Bells >>>>>>> Summer Jam

  • capcobra

    summer jam is dead cause ny hip hop is dead…you need multi platinum artists to headline and that ain’t ny hip hop right now.

    • LV


  • Brooklyn

    summer jam was wack because most of the artists headlining it were wack. even if you had one or two decent artists there, they were drowned by the wack niggas there.

    • EmCDL


      The lineup just isn’t as strong as it use to be. Too many wannabes out making horrible music. I bet the best show was most likely Talib and HiTek….

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  • ri067953

    Damn…I was just thinking about the Beatnuts doing Summer Jam or any live show. I guess I am still living in 94…

  • SansBeach

    I dont even know who performed at summer jam this year. Not to be funny but what was the line up?

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  • AZ40

    I guess your right about age and what not, IT JADES YOU!!!! That’s why humans aren’t ment to live forever, It’s supposed to be exciting for the young bucks, old heads have “seen it all, done it all”

  • $yk

    Summer Jam WAS a big time rap show, NOT a show for “just for the young bucks.”

    Y’all can throw darts @ the old heads, but this blog CLEARLY states the decline of the show, because the new ain’t rocking the show like it’s predecessors, Meka even gave the jay-Z example.

    I stopped going to it nOT BECAUSE of age, BUT BECAUSE THE LINEUPS SUCKED.

    And I did hear from my homies that Khaled rocked it, the homie said the same thing about unity that tpar said above.

  • Jamal7Mile

    I was thinking that Cam and Jim reuniting on stage would be the “Summer Jam Moment” this year. Jim is actually banned from the venue (what he do??) and Dipset hasn’t completed any new material yet.

  • westcoastaggie

    THAT 92.3 the beat SummerJam Concert with Outkast was legendary.

    But anyways, Dipset and Hot 97 missed out on a golden opportunity when they didn’t “reunite” on that stage.

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  • Dub

    Don’t know about Summer Jam but Birthday Bash is always gonna be bangin as long as niggas is throwin 50k in the air

  • Brother Man

    Rappers arent good performers. In fact their generally terrible. I’ll rather see an MC Hammer show at this point

  • EF Cuttin

    Damn Mek,
    Why shit on the old heads??? Hip Hop is the only genre of music that does this idiotic practice,as well as the only genre constantly complaining about the lack of quality,yet STILL not advanced enough 2 put 2 and 2 together…
    Damn shame in 10 years this all will be a memory like Disco….

  • The Decatur Dictator

    ^^^@ EF Cuttin, I’m not sure that Mek was bagging on old heads, but maybe staying that things you kind of grew with are no longer appealing and to add to that, the current talent (if you can call it that), further drags the allure of the summer jam down…It’s just hard to get up for some of the wack artist that’s on there.

  • mujahdean


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