This list will not include “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
Now that we’ve gotten that bit of business out of the way, lets focus on one of the best parts of summer: the cookout. Friends and family are intermingling. Intoxicating aromas are wafting from the grill. Women are wearing less and smiling more. The spades table is surrounded by trash-talkers and sore losers. This is what summer is all about. While the aforementioned is happening around your favorite park, backyard, or pool, this is what you should be playing in the background.
Dom Kennedy Ft. Jason Madison - "Watermelon Sundae"
If you haven’t been surrounded by pretty women, with their pretty toes wiggling in chlorinated blue water, and their pretty hair remaining dry as a bone as this song blared from portable speakers, you haven’t really lived.
Kurupt Ft. Baby S & Andre Wilson - "We Can Freak It"
Maybe it’s the nearly yearlong exposure to warm, sunny, weather, but nobody does summer better than the west coast. Kurupt paired with Battlecat’s velvety production are the perfect soundtrack to the moment when the sun goes down, the heat subsides, and the backyard candles and lanterns glow warmly over bodies moving in unison.
Tupac Ft. Shock G & Money B - "I Get Around"
As spring turns into summer and clothes get skimpier, every new relationship finds itself on shaky ground. “I Get Around” is the seven month itch set to music, as Tupac and his Digital Underground homeboys skip the small talk and cut to the chase.
Raekwon The Chef Ft. Ghostface, Method Man, & Cappadonna - "Ice Cream"
Nothing draws a crowd in the summer like an ice cream truck in the hood. Rae and his Wu-Tang compatriots spit some good natured, innuendo filled, fun over RZA production on “Ice Cream.” The flavors described by Chef Raekwon and crew are especially popular when the temp goes up, with everyone in sight trying to get their hands on their own.
The Dove Shack - "Summertime In The LBC"
The G-Funk era was a welcome change in pace to the grittier content coming from the Death Row camp in the mid-90s, and Warren G became a surprise hitmaker for Def Jam West. Like most hip-hop hitmakers, Warren brought his crew along, and the Dove Shack managed to release an album including this smile-inducing ode to summertime.
Suga Free - "If U Stay Ready"
Catch your friends off guard with Suga Free’s DJ Quik-produced debut single. The production is as smooth as an ice cold beverage pulled from the bottom of the cooler. And what could aid your paper plate pimpin’ than tips from the Pomona street gospelist himself?
Outkast - "Southernplayalisticadillacmusik"
Get people out of their folding chairs and into the middle of the backyard dancefloor, with this southern classic. In addition to unraveling minds, and pushing hip-hop to higher heights, Dre and Big know how to party. The funk drenched bassline, and 808 percussion will keep your party going deep into the night...or until the neighbors call the cops.
DJ DMD Ft. Lil Keke & Fat Pat - "25 Lighters"
In addition to providing the smoky, flavorful, fall off the bone barbecue, Texas can also be the source of your cookout’s soundtrack. DJ DMD along with Lil Keke and fallen H-Town legend Fat Pat have got you covered whether you play it at the normal BPMs or chopped and screwed.
Kanye West Ft. T-Pain - "Good Life"
Man, I miss Entourage. Nothing said summer like Vince and the boys making moves from Hollywood Blvd. to the Cannes Film Festival. Recreate that feeling of utter elation where the crew found room on Kanye’s jet, and play this tune from a happier Kanye, and T-Pain before the Future changed his fortunes.
Rich Boy Ft. Polow Da Don - "Throw Some Ds"
Candy paint, custom interiors, and rims that poke out like a woman’s curves are a big part of summer in the hood. You hustled all winter and spring for this moment. Show off your rims, and your sound system while Rich Boi implores the whole neighborhood to do the same.