While Jay Z famously boasted that “you don’t want to be the next contestant on the Summer Jam screen,” the show itself is a different matter. For over twenty years now, Summer Jam, the Hot 97-hosted concert, has remained one of the most anticipated events in hip-hop, due to both its lineups and iconic moments, like Jay debuting “Takeover” and airing out Prodigy’s dance school lessons for all.
As times have changed, Summer Jam has changed along with them, but fans have had some concerns. While the newer Festival Stage serves as a big opportunity for up-and-coming artists, there’s always fervor on social media when an artist like Chance The Rapper isn’t deemed “good enough” for the Stadium Stage.
We spoke to Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning crew about all things Summer Jam and touched on the Chance controversy. In short, the Coloring Book rapper just isn’t as popular as the other acts. “Well, Chance doesn’t really have a radio hit at this point,” Ebro told us about Chance’s exclusion from the Stadium Stage. “He doesn’t have a mainstream hit song. He’s got a lot of brand success. Like, his brand — people know him. I think the music culture, artists really love him and anybody that loves music loves him, but I don’t think the general public knows a Chance [The Rapper] hit song.”
Rosenberg chimed in and reminded music fans that performing on the Festival Stage isn’t exactly like performing at your hole-in-the-wall club. Festival Stage is still a big deal. “First of all, the Festival Stage is like 10,000 people. Last year, it was 16,000,” Rosenberg revealed. “It’s huge. It’s still among Chance’s bigger shows. Besides big festivals, this is the biggest show he’ll do.”
Last year’s security issues served as easy fodder for media to report on “violence at the rap show.” Add in the recent T.I. concert shooting and the media is eagerly waiting for savagery to pop off. But that won’t be the case. Ebro told us music fans without any tickets won’t even make it to the parking lot. “Summer Jam is a fun time for families to check out some music. If you want to mess that up, you’re going to have problems. [MetLife Stadium] is a state-run facility. Ain’t nobody playing with you. At all.”
Peep our full interview where the the gang also explains the process behind creating memorable Summer Jam moments, how the lineups are chosen, and how exactly Summer Jam Tokyo came about. Tickets for the June 5th show are available to purchase here.