Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Jam 2009 gets boost from surprises

If it weren't for the surprises -- well, particularly one or two -- this probably would have been one of the worst Summer Jam concerts ever.

But thanks to two huge surprises during the Young Jeezy set -- rap icon Jay-Z and the Canadian newcomer, Drake -- the annual concert turned out to be a memorable one.

Giants Stadium roared when Drake hit the stage for "Best I Ever Had" in what was one of many surprise performances. He had gotten the biggest pop of the night.

That was until moments later when the Jigga man came out and the stadium shook as if Giant player David Tyree had just came in the game and made another "helmet catch" to win the Super Bowl. After all, this was Summer Jam, which might as well be the Super Bowl of hip-hop concerts.

More than 45,000 fans -- many who were videotaping Jay's performance for YouTube -- went bananas when the Brooklyn rapper recited his verse on "Put On" with Young Jeezy. Then he went into his latest single, "Death of Auto-Tune (D.O.A.)." What could top that? Not much and for many in attendance, the show at that point was over.

At that point it was about 10 p.m. and only T-Pain, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones were left to perform.

T-Pain, who briefly joined Jay-Z on the song that bashes the tool he frequently uses, coincidentally performed after Jigga. His performance seemed to drag and he performed numerous hit tracks that he's appeared on. However, with each performance the crowd grew restless because there were no special guests.

Enter Lil' Kim.

The black barbie hits the stage with T-Pain and gets the crowd hype with "Put Ya Lighters Up" and then goes into her latest single, "Download." The former Dancing With the Stars contestant didn't have on anything revealing and she kept it relatively classy. Maybe we've seen the last of the raunchy Kim Jones. Nonetheless, I was pleased she was there to save T-Pain's painful performance.

T-Pain also brought out DJ Khaled and Ace Hood. ::crickets:: We could have done without these two at Summer Jam, just my opinion.

After Pain left the stage defending his use of Auto-Tune because that's how he feeds his family, it was time for the final act of the night.

Jim Jones and Juelz Santana would assume the familiar position of closing out a Summer Jam show. But most people took the time during their performance to get a head start on leaving Giants Stadium. The crowd filed out like it was two minutes left in a 49-0 blowout.

They each performed their hits and briefly acknowledged Cam'Ron, who was rumored to be reuniting with the group at Summer Jam. But that didn't happen. Jones said they have love for Cam and he wouldn't be in attendance. So much for that reunion. They played "Touch It or Not" in his honor and at that point there was little hope for this final act.

But the DipSet crew, which had flooded the stage, managed to bring out Soulja Boy for the "Turn My Swag On" remix. A nice look for the show. You can say what you want about Soulja Boy, but that song is major. He earned that surprise spot.

Other cameo appearances during the last set included producer/singer Ryan Leslie [for "Precious" w/ Jones], Harlem's own, DJ Webstar and Ron Browz. Both had already performed during the pre-show concert in the parking lot, but they were back for the big stage.

Browz performed "Pop Champagne," where Santana gladly popped bottles for his own enjoyment.

And then a trio of females, did their best spoof of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" while Webstar, Jones and Santana performed "Dancing on Me."

At this point, nearly everyone was heading for the exit. The festivities began at 2:30 p.m. and the concert started at 6:30 p.m., so for many -- including myself -- this was an extremely long day.

Other notable surprises included Busta Rhymes and singer Jeremih during the Jadakiss set. Jeremih had the whole crowd singing along as he performed one of Hot 97's most played songs, "Birthday Sex."

Then in a red jump-suit came the always energetic Busa-Bus who joined Jada for "Respect My Conglomerate." It would have been hot to see Busta do some classic tracks from his glory days, but I guess that would have been asking too much.

And of course, the Jadakiss performance wouldn't have been complete without fellow D-Block members, Sheek Louch and Styles P.

Also helping the weak Summer Jam lineup to prevail were guests appearances by Method Man and Redman during the Mary J. Blige portion of the show. Mary and Meth reunited for their hip-hop anthem "You're All I Need." Nice moment.

Mary gave it her all and took fans on a rollercoaster ride of hit songs. Her performance was among high spots in an otherwise mediocre show.

Other notable moments from the Summer Jam supporting casts, included the reggae set featuring Mavado, Serani and Elephant Man. The Hot 97 crowd appreciates reggae so this was a no-brainer. The trio has some of the hottest songs on the radio and not to much Elephant Man had a laundry list of hits that fans took pleasure in dancing to.

Pleasure P, Day26 and The-Dream also performed. Not much to talk about, except The-Dream provided the crowd with the first surprise bringing out Fabolous for "Throw It in the Bag."

Overall, Hot 97's Summer Jam delivered the surprises it is known for to end a seven-year run at the current Giants Stadium. It will be torn down at the end of the upcoming season. Where the concert be next year? More than likely, the new Giants Stadium right next door. See you there!

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