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Hot 97’s Summer Jam took place at New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium last night, adding a new set of performers to the storied festival’s list of legendary performers. This year’s lineup included the likes of Cardi B and Migos. Hosted by Funk Flex and other Hot 97 luminaries like Ebro in the Morning’s Laura Styles, the event filled the stadium to nearly maximum capacity. Here we’ll rank the top five sets performed on the festival’s Stadium Stage, its marquee performance space.

5. Rich the Kid

Rich the Kid at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

Queens’ own Rich the Kid performed an early set, making his way onstage while it was still light out. Despite this early billing, fans were eager and engaged with his set, perhaps due to his credible NYC lineage and nimble trap rap. He worked his way through a few songs and left the festival crowd, understandably milling around before larger acts showed up, positively amped. He was the perfect appetizer.

Rich the Kid with Jay Critch at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by Mel D. Cole, via Hot 97

A Boogie wit da Hoodie at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by Jill Chami (@js._way), via Hot 97

A Boogie, a rapper that this writer has never been terribly fond of, put on an impressive show. The audience was clearly hyped as hell for the New York native’s set, responding feverishly to every song. He brought out London on Da Track to much applause, underscoring the recent trend of producers becoming nearly as relevant as the rappers whose tunes they provide music for.

3. Meek Mill

Meek Mill at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by Jill Chami (@js._way), via Hot 97

Philadephia’s Meek Mill, continuing the festival’s theme of East Coast rap royalty, performed an earnest and crowd pleasing set, showcasing the rapper’s best and most appealing qualities, including a heartfelt tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle. Meek, ever the workman, blasted through several songs with a ripping fervor not often seen at music festivals.

 Meek Mill at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

2. Migos

Quavo at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

Migos, the hugely successful rap trio out of Atlanta, may have waned slightly in popularity in recent years. After 2017’s massive hit Culture, they coasted on its big hits and cultural ubiquity for a while before releasing 2018’s bloated Culture II. However, when they hit the stage at Summer Jam the infectious qualities that made them massive stars in the first place was on full display. They ran through a number of hits including “Bad and Bougie” and “Fight Night,” and the crowd went predictably nuts. Quavo brought out his girlfriend and fellow musician Saweetie for one track and their chemistry was as impressive as her raps.

 Offset at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

1. Cardi B

Cardi B at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

How could the number 1 spot go to anyone else? Cardi B, the Bronx’s proudest daughter, brought the full force of her unstoppable talent to her performance. Cardi brought out a slew of guests including Blueface for a rendition of his hit “Thotiana” and Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X for an exceptionally fun version of their smash “Old Town Road.”

Blueface at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by Jill Chami (@js._way), via Hot 97

She also performed “Clout” with husband and Migos member Offset. Their on and off relationship seemed very much on. Despite her numerous guests and flamboyant stage show featuring backup dancers and blazing pyrotechnics, Cardi was the clear star of the night. Her set, the second to last of the night, was delayed due to inclement weather, but it seemed as though nearly the entire stadium stayed in Cardi fueled anticipation. Surely enough, when the rain and lightning cleared the Meadowlands, fans who’d spent the last hour or so buying exorbitantly overpriced hot dogs and beers filed back in with an excitement only few stars could garner. Cardi was electric, clearly enjoying the chance to perform at New York’s most important rap festival. She twerked and danced, showing off some of the skills she developed as a dancer prior to her rap fame. Cardi gives off the impression that her fame was inevitable. She’s so charming and confident (and unbelievably talented as a rapper) that it seems as though she had no choice in the matter. All hail Queen Cardi.

Cardi B at Summer Jam 2019 – Photo by @aviva_klein, via Hot 97

The closing set, Tory Lanez, was apathetically received by the understandably tired crowd. About half of the audience filed out, but the crowds were still abuzz about Cardi. Her success and ability to demand not only attention but celebration from a vastly diverse array of fans is a testament to the recent trend of women being (finally) well respected in the rap game. The festival, always an indicator of the hottest acts in the game, was a huge success. The sound management was consistent, hosts DJ Ebro and Funkmaster Flex kept the crowd lively and engaged, and the organizers successfully avoided cancellation despite dangerous weather that caused the stadium to be evacuated at one point. That the nearby Governer’s Ball (across the Hudson on Governer’s Island) was canceled mid-show and fans were forced to leave early is a testament to the organization of the festival. The fans, filling every nook of the interior of the stadium, made their intentions clear. Summer Jam had started, Cardi B had arrived, and they weren’t going anywhere.

Article written by Samuel Allan #HotNewHipHop