Summer hasn’t officially popped off until a summer single drops and gets everybody in the mood to party. Until last summer (thanks Nas) I hadn’t heard a summer banger since we the people were blessed with Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Summertime released way back in 1991 during my sophomore year of high school. In all honesty I can’t tell you where I was when I first heard the song, but I can tell you how I feel each and every time I hear it.
A summer song worth its salt has the ability to transport you into that world. Whenever I hear Summertime I’m in Philly clockin the fellas on South Street, hanging out at Greek Fest or as I like to call it Lil’ Freaknik (shout out Tracey). The hair is straightened to within an inch of its life and the nails are long and airbrushed. The jean skirt is short and tight, the tank top is snug and the kicks are some fresh white sneaks or the thick-ass platform flip flops we chicks favored ‘back in the day.’ The look was some version of nineties Nia Long.
When Summertime hit I was a bit too young to be out gallivanting so my little trip down memory lane was after the fact when I found first freedom. Goes to show it had lasting power; the song’s magic stands the test of time. Now at 37, I’m in grad school and working full time. Any money I make is used to pay my bills and buy a bottle of wine or the makings for a dirty martini every now and again. Sounds sad doesn’t it?
When I need to uncork that summer in a bottle feeling I summon up the song and float on a sonic journey back to worry free summers filled with plans for parking lot pimpin’ at the local VFW, Hammerjacks or The Paradox; Sundays at Druid Hill Park checking out all the eye-candy and weekend road trips. The first strains of Jazzy Jeff’s brilliant production hits my ears and I’m turning up the radio on blast, rocking back and forth in my car, feeling my whole body tingle with anticipation of the first lines, ‘here it is, the groove slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm…’ and I’m there. A flash as bright as an August sun floods my spirit and I’m on a journey and for a brief moment I’m that carefree chick of yesteryear.
For many years I’ve hoped to collect some more summer anthems with the same staying power as Summertime to no avail. Thankfully Nas’ most recent gift to the masses, Life is Good, resolves that issue with Summer on Smash. Problem is, here in Baltimore I don’t believe I ever heard the song on the radio unless I missed it on Rap Attack.Other singles took precedence and this gem of a song was overlooked.
The Swizz Beatz produced, Miguel accompanied Summer on Smash has the makings to blow the roof off any summertime house party. It will strip the leaves off trees at a backyard cookout or saturate the walls in sweat at a club. We need to revive this record, it needs to be blasting from every car radio. The beat is scorching, Miguel’s languid voice cools, while Nas’ story- telling skills almost make me want to try on the role of groupie, I know I really couldn’t hang. When I hear the song I imagine getting my St. Tropez on: wrapping a silky scarf around my tresses, rocking some Jackie-O sunglasses, shimmying into a cute swimsuit with gauzy cover-up, digging my pedicured toes in the sand and having constant access to fresh Mojitos. Oh shit, I just described my Sheila E. Glamorous Life moment, although I imagine that to be more of a NYC fur coat vibe…
I’m not gonna lie Summer on Smash is definitely from a man’s p.o.v. and covers hot topics like smashin and dashin but the beat is hard and like the Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince joint takes me on a journey. If you feel the same way too, please ramp up a campaign to get Summer on Smash on the airwaves in a city near you.
Sidebar: There’s no music video for the song, just a live performance on Vevo that’s not gonna deliver that lyrical thrust, so check out this YouTube link so you can get in a good listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv3hfIPI4E4
Happy First Day of Summer!!!! “Ciroc on splash, summer on smash…”