Summer Songs 2012: Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Miguel & More Make Heat
Just as much as we love the summer for its big cookouts, parties on the rooftop and at the pool and other outdoor shenanigans, the season is always marked by the bangers played at all the functions attended, forming a unique unforgettable soundtrack.
However, the warmer months are about to end, forgetting to quench our thirst with a necessary summer smash hit. Unlike in the past when one song was given the coveted crown as the ultimate jam that set the charts ablaze, this year there was no clear winner. A plethora of popular joints tied each other on that front. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact there was more crew love than solo starpower happening this summer.
The G.O.O.D. Music, Maybach Music Group and Young Money camps stepped up to rule with an array of sounds with the same formula: easy sing-along hooks and addictive beats that range from europop to trap music. There was room for all to win. A few surprise new faces received some spins as well including newcomers Ca$h Out and Chief Keef, and Frank Ocean even dropped an extended play song that easily broke every rule in the book when it comes to song length these days.
Summer 2012 will be bidding farewell soon but it never hurts to reminisce on the songs that outfitted our earbuds and speakers. Here are 15 songs that were more than likely given the most burn on the radio, clubs and at all those BBQs you crashed this summer.
1. "Mercy," Kanye West Feat. 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Pusha T
"Mercy," the biggest hip-hop anthem of the summer, put the G.O.O.D. Music camp ahead of other rap crews as the temperature began to rise outside. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz performed their hit at the 2012 BET Music Awards. The song mixed southern hip-hop with voice samples from dancehall artist Fuzzy Jones, and made a Lamborghini the object of the hook's affection. It eventually peaked as the No 1. song on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. Swerve.
2. "Starships," Nicki Minaj
Everything about Nicki Minaj's "Starships" creeps right into your mind without you even realizing it did. Her explicit verses like "Bad bitches like me is hard to come by" are softened by the song's catchy, breezy hook: "Starships were meant to fly/ Hands up and touch the sky." The track broke records remaining in the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 for 21 weeks, beating the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." The song also reached the triple platinum-selling mark.
3. "Where Have You Been," Rihanna
Another hit for the Bajan beauty, "Where Have You Been" added another top 10 hit to Rihanna's resume. Co-written by Ester Dean and produced by Dr. Luke, Cirkut and Calvin Harris, the record channels elements of techno, dance-pop as well as R&B. The song about the search for that "one" was performed by the sognstress on "Saturday Night Live" and also the season finale of "American Idol" this year.
4. "Bands a Make Her Dance," Juicy J
Some of the best hooks in southern hip-hop have come from the genius that is Juicy J, though the lyrics don't always match up. With "Bands a Make Her Dance," the Three 6 Mafia member created a banger this summer in the form of a rewarding anthem for exotic dancers everywhere. Assisted with "claps," the most hype part of the spacey track is the melodious hook. Then there's remix featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.
5. "No Lie," 2 Chainz Feat. Drake
Holding down the No. 1 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, "No Lie" featuring Drake has been 2 Chainz's most successful single thus far from his Def Jam debut Based on a T.R.U. Story, released this month. Produced by Mike WiLL Made It, the banger is his second No. 1 single this summer, following "Mercy." The track features Drizzy's monotone vocals, which gifts "No Lie" with the winning hook. This is a cocky track for Deuce, who's enjoying his moment at the top rapping, "All I get is cheese, like I'm taking pictures." Only the genius of 2 Chainz can come up with this wordplay.
6. "Put It Down," Brandy Feat. Chris Brown
"Put It Down" is Brandy's first single from her upcoming October release Twenty Eleven. On the Bangladesh-produced record, the veteran singer embraces her hip-hop side, leaning on her R&B roots while rap-sings her assertive "over 30 I'm grown" expectations on how a man can get it from her. Chris Brown assists the track and has his hands full with this more seasoned lady. With the bass and the slick lyrics, the song should have burned more steam this summer.
7. "Lemme See," Usher Feat. Rick Ross
A more hip-hop feel than the rest of the songs on his recent album, Looking 4 Myself, Usher's "Lemme See" is a suave-talking, get-you-from-the-club-to-my-bedroom track. The R&B crooner knows he's commanding the win for the evening. The track performed well this summer, making it one of the more successful cuts from his LP, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts.
8. "Amen," Meek Mill Feat. Drake
Amidst controversy from a pastor in Philadelphia who wanted to stop radio airplay of his song, Meek Mill's "Amen" has still risen to be a hot single of this summer. It currently sits at a steady no. 5 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. This is just another reason for the MMG rapper to bow his head and give thanks.
9. "Cashin' Out," Ca$h Out
The breakthrough record for the new kid on the block, this Ca$h Out song is about what else but cash money and is full of boast-heavy lyrics. He flosses with lines like, "Got a condo on my wrist, girl/ I'm cashing out," proving he's a newbie but can still hold his own. The track, produced by fellow Atlanta native DJ Spinz, has been a hit all summer, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop charts and No. 1 on the Rap charts. It was also certified gold.
10. "Adorn," Miguel
The lead single from Miguel's upcoming sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Dream, has been heating up since it's official release July's end. Popular love songs are hard to come by these days and on "Adorn," the L.A. native gives a freestyle feel, assisted with rips and runs while exercising his unrestricted, breathy, falsetto vocals over the harmonious mid-tempo song. It recently reached No. 7 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Charts.
11. "Pyramids," Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean's second single, "Pyramids," from his debut LP, channel ORANGE, was received well, but the singer made a bold move by releasing an almost 10-minute track, which could easily be split into two -- one has an electric soul-feel and the other more hip-hop. The track is nothing less than magical with imagery of cheetahs, Cleopatra and lots of movement. It's a theatrical experience nonetheless.
12. "Pop That," French Montana Feat. Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne
French Montana's "Pop That" is ratchet overload. The track, produced by Lee Beats, features a sample of the infamous party classic "I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)" by Uncle Luke. Taking the lyrics "pop that" as the ringing hook over a rump-shaking beat, the four rappers come together to serve their expectations of high twerkage rates from their dancing partners. Let's hope they have the ability to keep up themselves.
One of many Maybach Music Group hits this summer, "Bag of Money" gives the all-star lineup of Ross, Wale and Meek Mill time to shine as a group. This serves as an ode to the bad ones who willingly "count money" and perform other tasks to complement their rap lifestyle. The hit thus far has peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Charts.
14. "Faded," Tyga Feat. Lil Wayne
Young Money talent Tyga has taken over the hip-hop charts this year and "Faded" featuring his boss Lil Wayne. The song reached No. 7 on Billboard's Rap songs chart. With the high bell ringing mixed with bellowing bass, Tyga stays true to his Cali-roots as he repetitively tells his apathetic tale of being drunk and delirious. The track was produced by Dnyc3.
15. "I Don't Like," Chief Keef
Already a local Chicago hit for the underground teen talent Chief Keef, "I Don't Like" propelled to high notoriety when Kanye West got on the remix with Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big Sean. It eventually made it onto the top 40 of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop charts and Top 20 for Rap. Even though the song had mediocre chart success, the youngin's crime-blown ode has received heavy rotation online and in party circles, propelling his name into the spotlight.