Summer Jam (June 6 – June 7, 2014), hosted by KUBE93 FM, brought together people from all over Washington to experience the hip-hop scene. KUBE93 is Seattle’s hip-hop radio station, and as an intern for the station I was given the opportunity to work at the station’s biggest event of the year. Here’s an inside look to what it was like for me while I staffed my first music festival and the cool perks that came with it.
The Gorge Amphitheater is located in Quincy, Washington at the Columbia River. The music is focused at the main stage, which is right in front of the river and overlook the surrounding canyons. In front of the main stage is an inclining pit that turns into a grassy hillside – kind of like a movie theater without seats, so there are definitely no bad spots in front of the main stage. The beautiful view and nature surrounding The Gorge make this venue so different from any I’ve ever been to.
Friday, June 6th, was Summer Jam’s “Classic” day which featured artists such as Ice Cube, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Too $hort, E-40, and DJ Quik. Since I was scheduled to do the “Meet & Greets” for the winners who texted-in to meet the artists, I was within a few feet of these legendary rappers. Although I didn’t get to personally meet them, to be in their presence was a memorable experience.
I was able to enjoy the remaining acts after my Friday shift. I made it in time to see half of Bone Thugs’ set. As a child of the 90’s, I felt great appreciation to these artists and what they’ve brought to hip-hop. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brought their audience back to their roots, which I thought was the most memorable part of their set. They acknowledged Memorial Day weekend and the fallen rappers who have also made a big musical impact in the world of hip-hop, and got personal as they performed “Crossroads”, which was one of their last songs.
Earlier on Friday as I was setting up for the event, I heard music coming from the main stage. It took the other interns and I a couple seconds to realize that Ice Cube was doing his sound check in the middle of the day. There was so much intensity in just his sound check that I knew his set later that day was going to be amazing. Ice Cube is another artist that has continued to be musically influential since the 90’s. From his days with NWA until now, he makes sure his audience knows that he’s the “king of rap”.
Day 2 featured Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Kid Ink, and Big K.R.I.T., was much different than the “Classic” Day 1, but was still just as much fun and crazy. As an intern, I got the opportunity to go on the main stage to throw t-shirts to the crowd. I got to see the crowd get excited and saw thousands of people waiting for shirts to be thrown their way. It was crazy to see the audience from up on stage and was definitely the best 5 minutes of my weekend.
Getting to hear the “classic” rappers from day 1 and then the headliners for day 2 was a great way to fully see how rap has evolved and changed within the past 20 years. Big Sean was the second-to-last performer to end the weekend. What makes Big Sean so great to listen to is the relevance of his songs to almost everyone’s life. Whether he’s rapping about a “woman with a broken heart” or he’s taking it a few years back to rap about “being so high you won’t remember it” – we can all relate to his music and feed off of the energy he spits with.
Big Sean. Source: www.kube93.com
Kendrick ended the night and made sure everyone in The Gorge was jumping in unison with him. With every song he performed, at least half of the audience knew all the words. The audience flowed with him throughout “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, they helped with the chorus for Swimming Pools (Drank), and went absolutely insane with him for his last song, “m.A.A.d City”. It ended the night and right as we thought he was about to start rapping, he tells his DJ to stop – he wanted the crowd to be crazier. So he started the song over and the crowd went crazy. Kendrick Lamar ended Summer Jam and made sure it was epic.
Kendrick Lamar. Source: www.kube93.com