Summer Jam 2014 was one for the ages, with the annual Hot 97 showcase of hip-hop superstars featuring some of the biggest names in the game and more than a few surprises. With personalities like Angie Martinez, Peter Rosenberg and Miss Info as hosts, this year’s show featured Nicki Minaj showing love to her Young Money cohorts Drake and Lil Wayne, Nas and T.I. showing support to the younger generation; and 50 Cent showing that he can put the past behind him.
That’s right folks, G-Unit reunited at Summer Jam 2014.
Fiddy first appeared as Nas was performing his 1998 hit “Hate Me Now,” and the two Queens natives showed respect and love for each other before 50 began tearing through one of his own signature songs, 2003s “What Up Gangsta.” As Nas slowly stepped to the side of the stage, suddenly 50’s supposedly-estranged former G-Unit partner Lloyd Banks emerged, with Tony Yayo and, most surprisingly, Young Buck following soon after.
The crowd exploded as the four men that made G-Unit one of the biggest brands in early 2000s hip-hop shared the stage, with 50 serving as ringleader and a surprise appearance from Memphis rapper Yo Gotti. Not long after they began performing, however, an altercation occurred between rapper Slowbucks and 50’s crew. It looked as though Slowbucks attempted to crash the set, only to be rushed by members of the rapper’s entourage and was severely beaten and stomped on stage.
But 50 and his boys didn’t miss a beat. And he kept performing while rocking Slowbucks’ chain.
There were other happenings at Summer Jam that didn’t involve a beat-down. T.I. hopped on stage during Troy Ave.’s performance in the afternoon and gave the buzzed-about Brooklyn rapper some Dirty South support during his set — setting a tone for the rest of the day. From Snoop’s guest appearance with Wiz Khalifa, to Nas bringing out his own surprise guests in Meek Mill and French Montana, there was a spirit of established stars showing love to younger acts. In the case of the Roots, it was a case of an established act showing love to vets from New York City—with the LOX, M.O.P. and Dres from Black Sheep joining the famed Philadelphia hip-hop band during their performance.
But the night arguably belonged to Nicki Minaj. She performed a little after 10 p.m. in a see-through top with pasties, twerking and rhyming her hits like “Moment For Life” and her latest “Pills N Potions.” Halfway through her set, Minaj proclaimed “I ain’t f——- with everybody on Young Money” and indicated she no longer had love for her longtime label mate Drake. Of course, Drizzy burst from backstage on cue — announcing “Muthaf—as neva loved us” and tearing through his hit “Worst Behavior.” And the day wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Lil Wayne himself, who helped Minaj close her performance with his verse from Chris Brown’s “Loyal.”
D.J. Mustard & Y.G., Trey Songz, Sevyn Streeter, Action Bronson and a host of others on the festival stage, including Jhené Aiko and Mack Wilds, showed up and turned up for Summer Jam 2014. There was no shortage of drama, but the show will be remembered for the love that was shown and the spirit of camaraderie that defined the day.