Asmar Bouie // REVOLT
A couple summers ago, a wise man said, "Now I'm 'bout to make them tuck their whole summer in." Yes, Mr. Kanye West did the aforementioned, and yes, it was right before unrolling a little album called Watch the Throne with Jay Z. But beyond the nostalgic trip, that statement there rings true for many reasons. For one, it's a goal that most artists set for themselves coming into the third quarter release schedule. Second, it’s also a foundation of sorts for the kind of records that release around the year’s midpoint. Like we've already witnessed several times this season, it’s during this midpoint that when a record catches steam, it goes on to live in the rare, coveted realm of ubiquity, otherwise known as the "Song of Summer." While it may seem a bit odd for artists to cash in their big chips for one season of the music calendar, the rewards easily quell the skepticism.
Think about it. In 2010, Eminem and Rihanna had everyone feeling feels as we "stood there" and watched them burn. A year after The Throne resurrected the musical spirit of Otis Redding and prompted the rap world to "tuck their whole summer in," Nicki Minaj reminded us that "starships were meant to fly." In 2013, Daft Punk, Pharrell, and Niles Rodgers united like "like the legend of the phoenix" and had the world "up all night to the sun." For all these artists, those records jumped from being just album singles to illustrating a cultural narrative. No other genre or subdivision of music holds that kind of power.
So in an attempt to break down the glorious of all pop-music seasons, using a variety of metrics such as YouTube views, Billboard chart positions and how mind-numbingly ubiquitous they were, REVOLT gathered up some of summer 16’s hottest hits for a special Songs of Summer '16 review. Because there were just so many inconceivably catchy tunes that deserved mention, we ranked them into separate categories. For every day this week, these categories (#PeakedTooEarly, #DidntStandAChance, #LateBloomers, #UndeniableFaves) will be unpacked in this post with the final day (August 26) revealing our choice for #Summer16Anthem.
Kicking off the weeklong rollout today (August 22) is a look at all the songs that looked like strong contenders before Memorial Day weekend, but reached their height before the summer officially started. Hence, they #PeakedTooEarly.
Kanye West feat. Swizz Beatz & Rihanna "Famous"
When Kanye led thousands of his devout Yeezus followers into Madison Square Garden earlier this year for his Life of Pablo premiere (and quasi-fashion show), the song “Famous” was a definite standout. But while lines like "I be Puerto Rican day parade floating" and a clever sample of Sister Nancy’s 1982 reggae classic “Bam Bam” gave the song loud potential as a soon-to-be summertime banger, #SwiftGate came knocking on Mr. West’s door step thus overshadowing the momentum. To date, the song only peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100, with its last entry date on the list being April 23.
Flume feat. Kai "Never Be Like You"
Released at the top of the year, Flume's gorgeous hit had all the makings of a summer soundtrack waiting to happen. Its unforgettable electro-R&B soundscape, lush vocals from Kai and heart-rending lyrics saw it go from album single to the Coachella stage in April and throughout our eardrums between the winter and spring.
French Montana feat. Kodak Black "Lockjaw"
Kodak Black’s infectious hook gave this hypnotic French Montana record so much life throughout spring '16 and heading into the summer, it only seemed like it was poised for glory. Though it remained a fixture on radio stations nationwide, "Lockjaw" only peaked at No. 73 on the Hot 100 chart (as of August 6) and No. 23 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. His latest single "No Shopping" has charted higher, heading toward the direction "Lockjaw" should have. Either way, it’s still a summertime banger.
At the top of the year, Future unwrapped the first of his 2016 releases with Purple Reign. The mixtape spawned an early favorite with the Metro Boomin and Southside produced “Wicked,” which quickly emerged as a radio and club favorite. Before the song could breathe, Fewtch went ahead and dropped EVOL less than a month later. While "Wicked" had enough steam to last into the spring, the song peaked by the time Future quietly added it to the EVOL tracklist on Apple Music in April.
Rae Sremmurd "Look Alive"
Rae Sremmurd learned the mistake of dropping SremmLife in January last year. After all, the 2015 debut practically had "summer soundtrack" written all over it. So when SremmLife 2 was announced for a summer release and "Look Alive" offered a taste of things to come, the vision was beyond clear: This was going to eclipse what they did the year before. Between Slim Jxmmi talking that talk and Swae Lee providing another irresistible singsong hook, “Look Alive” had all the makings of a summer '16 takeover. While its steam has since simmered, the release of SremmLife 2 has only added a set of new favorites ("Black Beatle," "Real Chill") into our memories of the season.
Stick with REVOLT all week as we crown the official Song of the Summer. Up for debate on Tuesday: The songs that #Didn'tStandAChance.