Radio station concerts often act as sampler sets, with an overcrowded bill trying to represent the breadth of a music genre in one afternoon.
For 20 years, Hot 97 Summer Jam has been one of the premiere shows in the country to take the temperature of hip-hop, to see who’s hot at that moment.
Jay-Z, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas have headlined in the past.
For the 20th edition, Hot 97 has brought the Wu-Tang Clan back to celebrate its own milestone: It was 20 years ago that the crew released “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” a revolutionary LP and one of the great albums in hip-hop history.
Who else will be representing the best of hip-hop in 2013? Here’s a run down of some of the potential highlights:
Why He’s There: “Adorn” is one of the biggest hit songs in the country.
Show Potential: A recent radio show performance in Los Angeles was cut short due to technical problems. Presuming his live band can get set up properly (and presuming no more flying leg drops like the one he delivered at the Billboard Music Awards), he’ll deliver the smoothest set of the day.
Why He’s Here: His debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is one of the few hip-hop LPs recently to appeal both to fans and critics.
Show Potential: Maybe the best young emcee today, Lamar is still seeking that signature performance, that moment that announces his arrival as rap’s guiding light. Could it be here?
Why He’s Here: Currently has the top track on Billboard’s Hip-Hop/R&B Airplay charts with “Bad.”
Show Potential: Will a radio audience know Wale’s superior mixtape work? If they don’t, expect a set of his decidedly blander radio hits.
Why He’s There: Aside from hits like “Pop That,” Montana appeared on the cover of the March/April issue of XXL Magazine alongside fellow Summer Jam performer A$AP Rocky with the headline “NY’s Back.”
Show Potential: Though his recent release is his first full-length, he’s been a known quantity since 2002. Still, he might have the most to prove of anyone taking the stage.
Why It’s There: Really?
Show Potential: The performance of the full Clan was one of the highlights of Coachella, one of the country’s biggest music festivals. Expect a set loaded with hits, tributes to deceased member Ol’ Dirty Bastard and a surprise or two.
Hot 97 Summer Jam is at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., $45-$250.