Twenty years since its inception, Summer Jam, also known as the “Biggest Hip Hop Show On Earth” still proves to be the biggest hip hop production of our time. Produced by hip hop radio station Hot 97, Summer Jam 2013 took place on a blazing hot day in East Rutherford, N.J., at the MetLife Stadium on Sunday June 2nd.
For the event’s 20th anniversary, Hot 97 invited some of the biggest names in hip hop including: Wu-Tang Clan, Chris Brown, Fabolous, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, A$AP Rocky and more. Throughout the evening, there were a host of “surprise” guests which included Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Mariah Carey, Lil Wayne and Lil Kim.
The station has proven to be a staple within hip hop culture and the radio industry producing other events throughout the year in addition to its brand imprint, Summer Jam.
“It’s always about expanding. We’re not just a radio station,” says Hot 97 Marketing Director Donyshia Benjamin. “We’re as big as other major brands, from NIKE, to Boost Mobile. People come to Hot 97 because we give them credibility. Our listeners are going to take into consideration everything that we’re saying. Because of this, we try to align our brands that are credible.”
Benjamin, a marketing executive who has been with Emmis Communications (the parent company for Hot 97) for over fifteen years, has grown with the hip hop festival almost since inception and has shown a successful track record of transforming the brand’s identity and contributing to its impact on hip hop culture.
“Hot 97 grew up with hip hop, and came into NY at an amazing time for radio and also for our culture overall,” she says. “It’s surreal sometimes when I think about coming in here over a decade ago.” She adds, “For hip hop, there’s no other radio station that is putting on and producing a straight hip hop show for 55,000 people. There’s other Summer Jam’s but there is NOTHING like a Hot 97 New York Summer Jam.”
Despite the battle of New York City hip hop radio stations of who’s “hotter”, Hot 97 is confident that it continues to hold reign. On whether or not Hot 97 still dominates hip hop radio Benjamin says, “When you think about New York hip hop, you think about Hot 97, and then you think about everything else. It’s not arrogance, its fact.”