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Best Summer Hip-Hop Songs

It wouldn’t be summer without backyard barbecues, family reunions, Mister Softee and summer jams. Whether it’s a straightforward tune about kickin’ it on a hot basketball court or a symbolic one about ice cream flavors, we can’t deny the role music plays in the summer months. Check out a some of our favorites. Enjoy!

10. ‘Lean Back,’ Terror Squad

Sun-soaked lyric: “See my ni–as don’t dance, we just pull up our pants and do the Rockaway/Now lean back”

Spawning the laziest dance ever, Terror Squad changed the game with this certified summer smash. Fat Joe and his crew made this song strictly for the big dudes who didn’t want to scuff their fresh white sneakers or break a sweat on the dance floor.


Raekwon

9. ‘Ice Cream,’ Raekwon

Sun-soaked lyric: “Watch these rap ni–az get all up in your guts/French vanilla, butter-pecan, chocolate deluxe”

There’s nothing like chasing after the ice cream man on a hot summer day. As soon as the music starts blasting, you beg your moms for a dollar to purchase that creamy goodness. Although we’re pretty sure Raekwon and the Wu members were taking about women, they get extra points for the metaphor.


Jay-Z

8. ‘Big Pimpin’,’ Jay-Z

Sun-soaked lyric: “You know I thug ‘em, f—’em, leave ‘em/Cause I don’t f—in’ need ‘em”

Wife beaters + a boat + scantily clad chicks = Summer! With Trinidad’s annual Carnival celebration as its backdrop, Jay-Z proved to be ‘Big Pimpin.’ Throw in a dash of Dame’s big belly plus UGK, and a perfect summer single is born.


7. ‘Vivrant Thing,’ Q-Tip

Sun-soaked lyric: “Special girl, real good girl/Biggest thing in my itty bitty world”

Q-Tip’s first single minus “The Tribe” skyrocketed the Queens, N.Y. native into another stratosphere. By the summer of 2000, Tip was performing the J-Dilla-produced hit single at Summer Jam concerts across the nation. Hype Williams only added to the song’s sexiness with a black-and-white music video that is easily some of his best work.


War

6. ‘Crank That,’ Soulja Boy Tell Em

Sun-soaked lyric: “Watch me crank dat, Soulja Boy/Then Superman dat ohhhh”

OK, we admit that this song grew on us. By summer 2007, everybody in the was club trying to “superman that ohhh.” Not since the Electric Slide has a dance been so popular. ‘Crank That’ made Soulja Boy Tell Em a household name and quite possibly increased the sale of Superman capes.


Jay-Z

5. ‘Dear Summer,’ Jay-Z (Memphis Bleek)

Sun-soaked lyric: “Dear Summer, I know you gone’ miss me/ For we been together like Nike Airs and crisp tees”

Who but Jay could turn a freestyle into a dope song? In 2005 the Brooklyn native married the concept of summer ending to his rap retirement with this thought-provoking offering. Thank goodness he couldn’t leave rap alone — the game needs him!


4. ‘Hot in Herre,’ Nelly

Sun-soaked lyric: “It’s getting hot in here/So take off all your clothes”

There’s nothing like getting close and sweaty on the dance floor. Equipped with a sweatband, Vocal tank-top and his signature bandage under his eye, Nelly hit a home run with this summer single. The best part? Watching girls chant, “Girl, I think my butt’s getting big!”


LL Cool J

3.’Around the Way Girl,’ LL Cool J

Sun-soaked lyric: “I want a girl with extensions in her hair/Bamboo earring — at least two pair”

This 1990 scorcher made girls from California to Harlem run out and get extensions! If that doesn’t scream summer, then nothing does! For Uncle L, known for showing off his sweaty pecs, ‘Around the Way Girl’ let ladies know that he was taking notice.


2. ‘Low,’ Flo Rida

Sun-soaked lyric: “Shorty had them Apple Bottom Jeans boots with the fur/The whole crowd was looking at her “

From the bass bumping to the club jumping, ‘Low’ is so perfect for the summer, just thinking about it makes you want to dance! The boots with the fur might make you a little hot though, so you may want to switch to sandals.


DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

1. ‘Summertime,’ DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Sun-soaked lyric: “Honking at the honey in front of you with the light eyes/She turn around to see what beeping at/It’s like the summers a natural aphrodisiac”

The purest of all summer jams, ‘Summertime’ was/is a necessity. If you didn’t have this song blasting from your boom box (yes, I said boombox and not iPod), then you weren’t cool. Barbeques in the park plus water balloon fights …sounds refreshing just thinking about it!

Get more picks for the best pop, rock, country and metal summertime songs on our sister sites!

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