In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, in honor of the actual beginning of the season, we’re picking our favorite summer songs.
I’m tired of “Summertime.” Not the actual summertime, mind you, but DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime,” which has been plaguing block parties and ironic hangouts since it first hit the airwaves in 1991. It’s a fine enough song, but if discerning listeners are looking to chill out to some laid back rap grooves, there are a myriad of better options.
Take, for instance, Jurassic 5’s “Concrete Schoolyard.” Originally released by the L.A. rap collective in 1997, the track samples Ike Turner’s “Getting Nasty,” Ramsey Lewis’ “Summer Breeze,” and Don Sebesky’s “Cosmic Force,” proving, as always, that Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark know their shit. The track is more than those samples, of course, with rappers Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir, and Marc 7 teaming up for a throwback hip-hop roundabout that encourages listeners to explore their playground rapping roots. It’s just as singsong as anything The Fresh Prince put out and about 10 times more inspired. Plus, the video, which features a rolling ice cream truck dishing out “bomb” 7-inches is just as summery. So now that we’re officially in the right season, why not roll down the windows, grab a twist cone, and let Jurassic 5 expand your musical horizons?