Ninety 90’s Songs: The Hits of Summer

Ah, summer. Heat. Vacations. And in my case moving day. Every time I move it takes place in the heat of summer. Heavy boxes, over-sized furniture, clumsy and unprofessional loading and packing methods. All the while there is some hot summer hit blaring over the radio, whether it’s in my car while I drive between homes, or from the radio from the construction down the street. This summer, drunk and idle college students and heat stricken laborers struggle with “blurred lines” a la Robin Thicke, but in summers past the song titles where more accurately themed and purposefully targeted.

#67 “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Will Smith is many things, actor, singer, father, husband, superstar, but he is not subtle. “Summertime”, released in June of 1991 asks nothing else than to be a summer jam. In fact, you could say Will Smith is quite the seasonal artist. Rarely ever has he been popular in any other season except summer, when he commonly stars in summer films, releases film/music tie-in singles, songs about summer, cities in Florida, and the like.

The song is “chill” and features a constant and flowing back beat and synth mix. As is common in rap, The Fresh Prince narrates a list of recommended summer activities one should partake while this song plays. The video reinforces this list by showing the ideas in action for those who are unable to follow the rhythm of the rap lyrics.  At the very least, listen to the back-up singers and play leap frog or dance or drink booze as is easy to hear and see from the video.

Rap by Will Smith tends to be rather tame and primed for the Adult Contemporary charts. I can’t tell if this is an example of East Coast Rap, to which West Coast Rap seems harder and rougher, or if that is just Will Smith trying to pander to his TV and eventual Hollywood film audiences which compose of children and mildly concerned parents.

Regardless, “Summertime” is a classic summer single guaranteed to at least blend into the background of any barbecue, but it isn’t so agitating as to flare up frustrations arising from packing and moving in the miserable heat of the summer. Play on “Summertime” even in the winter, where you will just wind up depressing us with nostalgia from those warmer months.



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