Hip-Hop's 25 Greatest Summer Songs

It's Memorial Day weekend! That means cookouts, family reunions, graduation parties - in other words, the unofficial kickoff to summer! We know everybody is going to need a solid playlist for cousin Denard's graduation or Aunt Lisa's 40th birthday party, so we decided to help ya out.

We picked twenty songs to help you get started on your summertime playlist. If you love classic Hip-Hop, you gotta love these bangers, fam. 

Here are Hip-Hop's 25 Greatest Summer Songs!

 

"Shake Ya Azz" - Mystikal


That legendary shit-talker from Nawlins teamed up with The Neptunes for a track that it's impossible to sit still to. Especially when Mystikal himself is demanding that you move sumthin.' 

 

 

"E.I." - Nelly


We know what you're thinking: there are other Nelly songs that may be your first choice for this list. But have you ever had this blasting poolside while everybody has something to sip in their cups? It works, yo. No, really - it works.

 

 

"Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)" - Lil Kim, Da Brat, Left Eye, Missy Elliott, Angie Martinez


The Queen Bee's classic remix features a small handful of some of the greatest women to ever hold a mic, and on top of that - they sound like they're having an amazing time. The best song for a girl's night out. 

 

 

"Find A Way" - A Tribe Called Quest


Q-Tip, Phife and Ali closed the 1990s with one of their shiniest singles. Not shiny like jiggy rap, but shiny like a hot day on the beach. The video fits the feel, and the song is the perfect soundtrack for a laid-back Saturday in June. 

 

 

"It's Your Birthday" - Luke


Nobody has ever been better at getting the party started than Uncle Luke. And he has more than a few pool party favorites, but watch how the crowd goes nuts when you throw this one on. 

 

 

"Goin' Back To Cali" - LL COOL J


Yes, this is one of those go-to ridin' anthems. Uncle L and Rick Rubin got their West Coast on with this bass-heavy, slow-rolling classic. It's greatest strength is that it can double as a car anthem and as a slow groove for your beach party. 

 

 

"Hip-Hop Hooray" - Naughty By Nature


Naughty By Nature is another legendary rap act with no shortage of summer anthems, but this one is so undeniably fun and well-known that it fits alongside pretty much anything on your cookout compilations.

 

 

"Rumpshaker" - Wreckx-N-Effect


Wreckx-N-Effect gave us a summer song for the ages with this ode to shakin' ass. It's not bootyshaking in the Miami bass tradition, but it's definitely a fun song to have playing when there are string bikinis around. 

 

 

"Doowhutchyalike" - Digital Underground


The late Shock G was responsible for some brilliant party jams and this might be his best one ever. So many great lines about biscuits and Stetsasonic and whatever else. It always makes you wanna throw a pool party. 

 

 

 

"A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays" - De La Soul


De La's feel-good, vibey hit single is still one of their coolest tracks. A flip of the Fearless Four's "F-1000," a lil bit of B.T. Express, and some Chicago for good measure = classic. And this shit really does make you wanna rollerskate.  

 

 

"Let Me Ride" - Dr. Dre


Summertime isn't just about cookouts and pool parties. There's also the joy of cruising on a warm summer day, and no Hip-Hop classic has ever better captured that feel than this hit from Dr. Dre.

 

 

"It's Supposed To Bubble" - UGK


Slow as a hot Texas Sunday, this classic from Bun B and Pimp C just sounds like Saturday nights down south. It's perfect for when you want to chill poolside a little bit with a cold beer or somethin' a little more bubbly.

 

 

"Beautiful" - Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell


Forever a vibe! It just sounds like warm beaches and cool drinks, surrounded by your favorite people, soaking up the sun. If that doesn't fit your scene, just enjoy the ambience, homie. It works no matter where you are.

 

  

"Candy" - Eightball & MJG


The Memphis greats showed that they can do laid back, fun vibes as well as they do gritty Tennessee street tales. Ball 'n G gave us one classic for the riders with this reimagining of Cameo's classic. 

 

 

"Oh Yeah!" - Rottin Razkals


Naughty By Nature had so many anthemic classics that they passed this one along to their buddies, Rottin Razkals. With some heavy lifting from Treach and Kay Gee, this trio landed one of the more slept on anthems of the 90s.

 

 

"Drop It Like It's Hot" - Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell


Pharrell and Snoop's chemistry has always been undeniable. When you put the VA kid and the Doggfather in the studio together, you're likely to get summer classics. It's just a given.

 

 

"Scarred" - Luke feat. Trick Daddy and Verb


Remember what we said about Luke and party-starters? This is another uber-classic. Put this on at the family reunion and watch Aunt Gladys almost break her hip twerking to it.

 

 

"Ruff Ryders Anthem" - DMX


You gotta have some gully shit on your cookout playlist, right? And X's anthem is perfect turn-up music if things threaten to get too chill. 

 

 

"Summertime In the LBC" - The Dove Shack


It don't get no more West Coast than this. The title says it all, and the hook seduces you immediately. Truly a perfect track. It really just epitomizes summer in southern California. 

 

 

"A Party Ain't A Party" - Queen Pen


The rapstress from the Bronx hit us with one helluva glasses-to-the-sky party anthem. This is the track you put on when you and your girls hit the beach or the cruise. This is a the-divorce-just-finalized classic. 

 

 

"You Know How We Do It" - Ice Cube


Another tune that's more about cruising as the sun goes down than partying poolside, this might be Ice Cube's best ridin' anthem. Cube does those kinds of songs particularly well, but he hit it out the park with this.

 

 

"Feel Me Flow" - Naughty By Nature


You might think of other Naughty By Nature songs first, and we've already established that Kay Gee, Treach and Vin Rock have no short supply of anthems. But no song better captures the warm vibes of summer like this uber-hit from 1995.

 

"Hey DJ" - The World Famous Supreme Team


The World Famous Supreme Team gave us the ultimate ode to DJs (both radio spinners and turntablists) with this sublime rap classic. It just feels like summer. Put it on and watch the whole crowd jam. 

 

 

"Back That Azz Up" - Juvenile feat. Lil Wayne


There are certain songs you just know are gonna be heard at the cookout, pool party, Junebug-finally-coming-home party or any other summer party. It's like a rap game law to have this on your playlist. We ain't about to fight the law.

 

 

"Summertime" - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince


You already know. We tried (we really tried) to find a song that wouldn't be so obvious a No. 1. But you know what? Some shit is just that undeniable, that timeless and that classic. Jazz and Will gave us a summer song for the ages. There's a reason you hear it every damn year for the past 30 years. 

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