The Top 13 Hip-Hop Songs For Summer


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…

13. Dom Kennedy, “Watermelon Sundae”

Chilling by the pool with ladies in twopieces, Dom’s ode to summer in Cali is a new classic even for a New Yorker like me. The weekends start with summer Fridays and end with watermelon sundaes.

12. The Cool Kids, “Swimsuits”

Uptempo and catchy, Mike Rocks and Chuck Inglish invite girls to take a swim with them. Nothing too deep or overthought about this one, just the duo rapping about fly girls in bathing suits and nice weather. Perfect listening as you soak your feet in the pool.

11. French Montana feat. Curren$y, “In The Sun”

This beat is really laid-back, with the sweet vocal sample acting like sprinkles on your ice cream or ice cubes in your lemonade.

10. Raekwon feat Ghostface, Method Man, Capadonna, “Ice Cream”

Yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s a song about girls, I know. But everyone knows summer is the best season for girl watching. And if the opening line from Ghost (“Yo honey dip, summertime find jewelry dripping”) doesn’t convince you, just remember the name of the song.

9. Prodigy feat. Twin Gambino, “Can’t Complain”

This is for the thugs swerving through the New York metropolis. Though it’s just a song about enjoying classic NYC summer activities like driving around and taking in a game at the Rucker, it still speaks on arbritary policing by the NYPD. We won’t let that interfere with the fun, will we?

8. La The Darkman feat. Raekwon, “Spring Water”

Laugh if you want to, but this song should be a BBQ staple. Rae does his usual fly guy slick talk and La more than holds his own. The track, produced by Carlos Broady, captures that warm weather feel. Don’t forget to tuck your jewels before you jump in the pool.

7. De La Soul, “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays'”

This song applies to any season, but judging from the video—and how much more it hurts to fall in cold weather—it was meant to be played during the summer months.

6. Large Professor, “Just Hangin’ Out”

The official “doing nothing and loving it” anthem courtesy of Extra P. The lyrics don’t specify a season, but this song definitely sounds best played on a boom box sitting on a park bench on a sunny summer day. Watch out for dude who in the video who’s snatching chains, though.

5. Ice Cube, “It Was A Good Day”

Here’s some more cruising music. This one, though, can also be applied to a cookout (as long as you’re not serving up that hog). Even though the SuperSonics are no more, this song is still relevant as shit.

4. The Roots, “It’s A Lazy Afternoon”

We all have days when there’s all types of fun summer activities to hit up but for some reason we can’t make it out of the house. Blame the weed or blame the pleasant AC cranking in this scorching weather, but chances are you won’t be outside till dusk. (Don’t forget to cue “Electric Relaxation.”)

3. dead prez, “Happiness”

The radical duo is known more for their antiestablishment rhetoric, but this song (off their debut Let’s Get Free) spoke about appreciating the good things in life like warm days and cold beers “even though we got mad shit to deal with.” At ease, soldiers.

2. Dr. Dre, “Let Me Ride”

Not exactly a summer jam per se, but definitely something to bump when you’re just out cruising the hot summer streets. Stirs up images of a nice California day, rolling in your ’64 with the top down and the chronic burning while creeping down the back streets on Ds.

1. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “Summertime”

Capturing summer madness in a few stanzas isn’t an easy task, but somehow The Fresh Prince (who isn’t exactly known for timeless music) and Jazzy Jeff (who is) hit it out of the park. Though it was rumord to be written by Rakim, the song was actually penned by Masta Ace. Simple and nostalgic, it’s the first song I want to hear when the temperature passes 90 degrees.