The lineup is aimed directly at the independently owned and operated radio station’s young audience, which absorbs new artists and gets its music from terrestrial radio, social media, and word of mouth. The mixtape is still a thing, too. So, the lineup is a mix of established stars, acts in their collective and/or label rosters and fresh and hungry up-and-coming artists.
One previously announced artist who is unlikely to make the show is Top 25 charting rapper-songwriter Superstar Pride, best known for his viral single “Painting Pictures.” The rapper Pride was charged with the shooting death of his former barber in his hometown of Memphis in late July.
That tragedy aside, Summer Jam should be a fun evening, continuing the decades-long tradition of young urban radio stations producing a big summer concert.
Back in late 1987, Bay Area radio station KMEL pioneered the hip hop/R&B themed Summer Jam, gathering together a gaggle of artists on their radio playlist plus a bunch of rising stars for a day of live music that included Klymaxx, Expose, and headliners Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. The popularity of the event spread around the country to other cities and stations. New York City’s Hot 97 Summer Jam will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2024.
Z107.9′s Summer Jam history doesn’t go back quite that far, though there are surely plenty of millenial-aged hip-hop and R&B fans who can talk fondly of seeing MGK at WENZ./Z107.9 Summer Jam 2011 or Future headline the 2015 edition or Cardi B at Summer Jam 2017.
So, the current generation of hip-hop fans will make memories enjoying the Cleveland-born, North Carolina-raised DaBaby, the 2020 BET hip-hop male award winner, whose 2019 braggadocios hit single, “Suge,” also earned the rapper a platinum plaque, two Grammy nominations and got him turned into a meme. Since then Da Baby has reached higher with crossover hits including “Rockstar” with Roddy Ricch, which topped the Billboard 100 and hit No. 1 in several countries throughout Europe and Australia.
Likewise, Memphis native Moneybagg Yo has more than a decade in the game and his relaxed flow has earned him a string of platinum singles, including “Said Sum” the mellow-grooved “Scorpio,” which also features Da Baby, the mature, metaphorical ode to lean addiction “Wokesheka.” Monebagg released his 16th mixtape in June. “Hard To Love” finds the 31-year-old in a reflective mood between the usual bragging, boasting and sexual conquests.
The rest of the lineup are young hitmakers. Nardo Wick made his initial splash with the aggressive “Who Want Smoke” and the viral TikTok dance it inspired. Toosii is a rapper-singer with confessional, often sensitive navel-gazing lyrics and melodic-rapping style in songs such as “Love Is” and the double platinum rap ballad, “Favorite Song,” featuring Khalid.
By contrast, Finesse2tymes, another Memphis native, uses his big booming voice to shout down the haters. Since being released from prison in 2022, he’s released the album “90 Days.”
Sexxy Red made her bones with the very explicit “Pound Town” with rapper Tay Keith and is riding the success of her latest hook-laden single, the chant-worthy “Skee-Yee,” from her new mixtape, “Hood Hottest Princess,” highlighting her ribald sense of humor. She has a feature on Da Baby’s “Shake Sumn” remix giving fans a live collabo to look forward to.
Luh Tyler is the youngest performer at 17 years old. He announced his arrival a year ago with the self-recorded top TikTok tune “Law & Order.” The soft-spoken Floridian emcee released his debut mixtape “My Vision” this past spring.