by Colt Shaw
The line-ups released in the run-up to Summer Jam rarely tell the whole story of what attendees can expect. Surprise performances, often from some of the biggest names in the game, are a longstanding tradition.
This time was no different. Funkmaster Flex called out DaBaby, who hit the stage like a bomb with his new single ‘Shake Sumn,’ out last month, alongside women doing exactly that.
Egged on by a crowd eating up the surprise performance, DaBaby left the stage and moved with a dancer into the crowd for the bombastic ‘Suge,’ finishing with another take of ‘Shake Sumn.’
Remy Ma came out for an earth-shaking performance of ‘All The Way Up’ with French Montana.
Luh Tyler and NLE Choppa also came out for a few minutes in the spotlight during Montana’s blowout set, which included a performance of ‘GYALIS’ by Capella Grey at the front of a nearly full stage.
In their toast to hip-hop’s 50 years of history, the Lox brought out Rakim for a performance of ‘Paid in Full,’ and then pointed to the city’s new wave, bringing out Scar Lip to play her recent viral hit ‘This is New York.’
Queen Naija popped in on Fivio Foreign’s set for ‘What’s My Name,’ as did Sleepy Hallow for a run through his melancholy ‘2055’ and ‘Deep End Freestyle.’
Alongside Lola Brooke, Maiya the Don came out unannounced to run her hit ‘Telfy.’ Billy B joined for ‘Don’t Play With It,’ and BreezyLYN joined for ‘Bad Bitches (Remix).’
And, with all eyes on her for one of her biggest showcases yet, Ice Spice turned the mic over to FloMilli for ‘Conceited.’
Some of Summer Jam’s most memorable moments have also been the most unexpected — whether impromptu or kept under lock-and-key until unveiled before an erupting crowd. Jay-Z welcomed Michael Jackson onstage in 2001; Busta Rhymes ushered Mariah Carey out in 2003 for ‘I Know What You Want; Nas brought out Lauren Hill in 2012, and 50 Cent and G-Unit reunited at Summer Jam in 2014 after months of beef between the members.
On the official line-up this time around, Cardi B last year delivered an early surprise, entering the festival stage outside MetLife to a raucous crowd just before 5 pm and performing the song Shake It with B-Lovee. Later that night, Meek Mill took the stage with Lil’ Durk for a sampler of their features together.