The Top 13 Hip-Hop Songs For Summer

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Free lunch, fire hydrants on full blast and beach chairs on the sidewalk—yep, the summer's here Need a hand composing a playlist to go along with a hot and lazy day's activities? Just in time for the official start of summer (and today's 90-plus temperatures), SOTC has put together a list of the best songs we like to hear while poolside, seaside, passenger-side, or just sitting in front of a fan watching Do The Right Thing. (No, "Hot In Herre" is not on the list.) Drums, please...

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Q&A: DJ Jazzy Jeff On The Enduring Appeal Of "Summertime"


"Drums, please!"

20 summers ago, Jazzy Jeff's opening command in the hip-hop classic "Summertime" kickstarted countless barbecues, picnics and long nighttime drives. Little has changed since. In 1991, as producers K. Fingers and Hula were lifting Kool & the Gang's leisurely dulcet "Summer Madness" for "Summertime," Philadelphia native Will Smith was in Los Angeles, spending his first year away from home to shoot Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He missed his friends and family and nostalgia was kicking in. "I think 'Summertime' might have been the easiest song he's ever written," recalls Jazzy Jeff. "Because all he was doing was writing down his feelings and emotions of those Philly summers."

Two decades later, Jazzy Jeff continues to juggle his multifaceted career as a producer, DJ and mentor, most recently with Toronto soul singer Ayah and Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller. Despite a DJ schedule rivaling Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour, the 46-year-old still oversees his A Touch of Jazz production house and has released a series of mixtapes and albums, including last year's flawless Summertime: The Mixtape with Mick Boogie. He spoke to us about the enduring appeal of "Summertime," why he loves Justin Bieber and how a 900 number made him a very wealthy man.


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Battle Of The Summer-Themed Mixtapes: The Morning Benders Vs. Jens Lekman Vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Boogie

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Here we have three artist-curated mixes to guide you through this apocalyptic heat: Given that DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Summertime" remains the almighty jam (it is too hot to even argue about this) (she turn around to see what you beepin' at), Jeff's gargantuan, nearly 50-track mix with Mick Boogie gets the edge (Ice Cube! Nu Shooz! Skee-Lo!), but Jens Lekman's erudite A Summer in 3/4 Time (featuring "music and dialogue from Day of the Locust (1975)") and the Morning Benders' Say Mayday Mix are worthy contenders as well, the latter employing both the Avalanches and that sweet ballad Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters sing in The Jerk. Go with whichever one dissipates the humidity for you.

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