Ask a dozen people what song symbolizes summer to them and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Or in our case, ask a small staff about the sounds of summer and you’ll receive 25 varying tracks that span years and genres. There is no standard go-to playlist. No right or wrong answers. You may need to hear Big L’s “MVP” every hot July day, but your creepy uncle can’t let a cookout go by without throwing “Shake Ya Tailfeather” on the boombox and hoping to see some co-ed rumps twerking it by the swimming pool. All of these songs embody the heat and carefree atmosphere the summer brings.
In no ranking order, here are the 25 songs that the TSS Crew decided that we need to survive the summer heat, cookouts and water gun fights.
1. Celly Cel – “Hot Sunny Day” — Cell depicts an average summertime day in the Bay from sunrise to well after sunset.
2. The Dove Shack – “Summertime In The LBC” — It was one and done for the G-Funk offshoots, yet it was a mighty, memorable one.
3. Nelly, Diddy & Murphy Lee – “Shake Ya Tailfeather” — Almost as recognizable as the blockbuster movie it provided the soundtrack for.
4. Jim Jones Feat. Trey Songz – “Summer Wit Miami” — Equipped with a lavish instrumental and one of Trey Songz’s better hooks, Jimmy crafted a summer anthem that still lives to this day.
5. Fresh Prince – “Summertime” — The quintessential summer rap song.
6. Big L – “MVP (Smooth Summer Mix)” — Dedicated to the ballers and sideline players alike.
7. Ice Cube – “My Summer Vacation” — Not the average choice but old school O’Shea tells about an urban summer excursion that’s definitely not Disneyland.
8. Aaliyah – “Are You That Somebody” — Babygirl’s vocals and Timbo’s production was just too much to ignore here.
9. Young Bleed Feat. Master P & C-Loc – “How Ya Do That” — Even if their city wasn’t given a shoutout in the chorus, the party people of 1998 gave this joint plenty of burn.
10. Jagged Edge Feat. Nelly – “Where The Party At” — Red cup music.
11. 2Pac – “I Get Around” — The song was already classic to begin with; the video just put their entire sexcapade over the top.
12. Justin Timberlake Feat. T.I. – “My Love” — Timberlake and Clifford combined efforts for a song that owned the summer of 2006.
13. Sublime – “Doin Time” — Ska punk and reggae gave you a reason not to break-up with your girl when the rest of ’em brought their daisy dukes out.
14. Wale Feat. Daniel Merriweather – “Let’s Ride” — Original Wale at his up-beat, Go-Go best.
15. Nas – “Halftime” — So many Illmatic tracks can fit the bill, but “Halftime” offers a more laid-back, devil-may-care attitude than other applicants; perfect vibe to beat the summer heat.
16. DJ Quik – “Summer Breeze” — With a funky backdrop & some lighthearted rhymes speaking on a California summer, David Blake provides the perfect anthem for the season.
17. Ice Cube – “Today Was A Good Day” — On the flipside of the previous entry, Ice paints the portrait of an idyllic day in the hood.
18. Paul Wall – “Bangin’ Screw” — No list of summer songs would be complete without one totally subwoofer-friendly track.
19. Beanie Man Feat. Mya – “Girls Dem Sugar” — Girls in hot pants, dance dance dance.
20. Jadakiss Feat. Styles P & Eve – “We Gon’ Make It” — Two thirds of the Lox combine for one of their biggest hits of all time that works anywhere from cookouts to road trips.
21. Busta Rhymes – “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” — If this comes on in a hot club in July and everybody doesn’t do as the song directs, leave said club or punch the person nearest you.
22. Wreckx-N-Effect – “Rump Shaker” — The Rosa Parks of booty music, paving a way for NSFW videos and WSHH.
23. Kings of Leon – “The Bucket” — The perfect backdrop for any adventures that you partake in the whip as the Kings’ song makes for great highway music.
24. O.A.R. – “That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker” — Absolute classic from the stadium-packing jam band; less poppy and more folky than their more current sh*t. Lends itself to a camp fire.
25. M.O.P. – “Ante Up” — Yes, the BK duo’s song will also be included in our “Songs To Commit Grand Larceny To” list, but how could any list meant to amp folks not include Mash Out music?
26. Outkast Feat. Sleepy Brown – “So Fresh, So Clean” — No summer music list is complete without Big Boi and André.