Thursday, May 1, 2008

Summer Jam Lineup and Tickets Released

                                  Photo Credit: Urban Music (Word Press)

The country's foremost mainstream hip-hop festival has announced its lineup and put tickets on sale. SummerJam, which has packed 60,000 people into Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. every year since 2003 and is put on by New York radio station Hot 97, has in store what seems to me to be two can't-miss sets. The first is fairly obvious-- the headliner Kanye West, who's three albums have each set new standards in production and witty lyricism.

The second set that deserves a lot of focus is what seems to be the first one of the day-- Lil' Wayne featuring Gym Class Heroes, the only billed instrumental outfit at the festival. Wayne has produced most of his beats with the "usual" drum machines, loops, and synthesizers, so it'll be very interesting to see how he can gel with a guitar, bass and drums behind him, as well as how Heroes frontman Travis McCoy will fit himself into Wayne's lyrics. Also, how will the material be divvied up?

Against the history of SummerJam, this year's edition might only seem decent (where are T.I., Jay-Z and Ludacris?), but perhaps Kanye and Wayne will break from a tranquil relationship and help carry on a "proud" tradition of Summer Jam-- beefs, including Jay-Z v. Nas and 50 Cent v. Ja Rule, blowing out of proportion. You can witness a major moment in hip-hop history, for better or for worse, on June 1st for only $40. More information on the opportunity here.

-- Ross Moody

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