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Hot 97's Summer Jam XX - Hip-Hop, Tunes & Tattoos
For the past 20 years, the Hip-Hop constituency in the Greater New York area has come together at the Meadowlands in New Jersey at the top of the summer season to celebrate the latest and greatest Hip-Hop artists of the moment. Held by New York's Hip-Hop radio station, Hot 97 (97.1 FM), Summer Jam has become a staple in the New York Hip-Hop scene. The Summer Jam stage has seen some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop over the years - from the late Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Wu-Tang Clan to Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Kanye West.

This past June, Summer Jam XX took the Meadowlands by storm once again. With a billthat included names like French Montana, Wale, Wu-Tang Clan, Fabolous, JoeBudden, 2 Chainz, Chris Brown, Miguel, and newcomers to the Hip-Hop spotlight,A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, it was evident that everyone was in for a hell-of-a good show at the MetLife Stadium.

As has been customary at Summer Jam for years, the thousands of attendees showed up hours before show time for the parking lot Summer Jam Festival. Hordes of Hip-Hop fanatics gathered in the parking lots to grill some eats, take in some tasty libations conveniently bottled in quarter-water bottles, parade their tricked-out rides, and show off their dope tats. Well, Urban Ink actually brought about that last part.

While Action Bronson, A$AP Ferg, Troy Ave, Joey Bada$$, Bodega Bamz, Kid Ink, VinnyCha$e, and Smoke DZA were rockin the Summer Jam Festival stage, the Urban Ink cameras were making their way through the crowd, snapping pics of some sick tattoo work worn by the attendees and some of the performers. Being that we live in the Instagram generation,concertgoers were more than open to having pictures taken of their body art.

Tattooed individuals of all races, ages, and sizes bared their cool tattoos for the Urban Ink cameras. Tattoo collections ran the gamut from religious black and grey pieces to colorful American Traditional pieces, Japanese koi tats, and even a full back portrait of the deadly, snake-haired Medusa.

After a phenomenal performance by Action Bronson - which consisted of our photographer chasing Bronsolini into the crowd after he decided to jump off the festival stage and perform the latter part of his set while walking around with the crowd - we all headed inside the stadium for the main performances.

Once inside, we witnessed former Urban Ink cover boys Slaughterhouse, Wale, and 2 Chainz produce crowd-pleasing performances. The latter of which surprised the crowd with a guest appearance by Nicki Minaj.

Other dope acts included another Urban Ink alum, Fabolous, who treated us to a live performance of "You Don't Know About It," bringing out MMG affiliate Meek Mill, among other hits. As he is a Brooklyn representative, Fab also brought out the Queen of BK, Lil' Kim, to perform some of her classic hits.

Miguel and Chris Brown put it down on the R&B tip - the former delivering guest appearances by Mariah Carey and J. Cole. Breezy gave us a light show reminiscent of Kanye West's "Glow In The Dark" tour days, with dancers dressed in outfits adorned with sequenced, flashing lights.

The legendary Wu-Tang Clan received a mixed response from the younger-aged audience members, but they were able to capture their attention when they hit everyone with more notable hits like "Method Man," a rendition of the late Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," "Ice Cream Flavors,"and "Da Rockwilder," sans Redman, unfortunately.

Although Mother Nature decided to rain down on us, newcomers A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar aimed to annihilate the Summer Jam stage - and that they did. A$AP went first, going through his many fan favorites, while the A$AP Mob crowded the stage, hyping up their lead artist as well as the crowd. For his hit single,"F*cking Problem," Rocky brought out Lamar to spit his notable verse on the song.

K.Dotthen took the stage. At this point, the rain was really coming down.Nevertheless, fans did not move from their spots. They jumped around and rapped along to every song Lamar threw at them. The stadium really went berserk when he hit them with "Backseat Freestyle" in mid-storm, as the A$AP Mob and Kendrick's Top Dawg Entertainment crew moshed around the stage.

For the finale, Hot 97 had a couple of aces up their sleeves. French Montana was the chosen one to close the show for this year's concert. He held the crowd's attention with hits like "Ochocinco" and "I'm A Coke Boy,"but it was when he went into his jam "Pop That," where he brought out Rick Ross and Lil Wayne - also former Urban Ink cover stars - that the crowd went wild. A sonic-boom-like roar immersed from the crowd as Lil Tunechi slaughtered his verse for French's "Pop That." French went on to close the show with his other, other hit single,"Ain't Worried About Nothin'," which was a fit ending to the daylong festivities.

Save for a head-scratching, surprise performance from Papoose following Kendrick Lamar's set, Hot 97 Summer Jam XX was a great time throughout - from the outdoor festival to the main event. Urban Ink looks forward to next year's summertime bash, and we hope to see you and your tattoos there.

Props to Hot 97!

Photos by JJ Ignotz

Article by Emmanuel Urena

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