What makes a summer jam? Is it the sunniest chorus, the hottest beat, the most weeks on the charts? Do the lyrics have to be about beaches and barbecues, or is it a question of vibe? What if it’s a song on your summer playlist and no one else’s?
We believe the answer is “all of the above.” This summer, Rolling Stone’s writers will celebrate the songs that are ruling each of their worlds – from huge hits to weirder, more personal choices. Check back soon for more summer songs, and hear all our picks in the Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post.
This one’s a no-brainer. Cardi B’s “I Like It” sounds like it was chemically concocted in a mad scientist’s lab to be 2018’s reigning song of the summer. From the moment it was released on the Bronx-repping rapper’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy, it quickly replaced Cardi’s own Number One hit “Bodak Yellow” as the go-to song to blare out of car and apartment windows – not only across her hometown, but all over the world.
Everything about this song is perfect for summer: the trap-meets-salsa beat, features from two of reggaeton’s biggest stars (J Balvin and Bad Bunny), a sample of Pete Rodriguez’s half-century-old boogaloo hit “I Like It Like That.” (Incidentally, Rodriguez’s original holds the rare distinction of being a song of the summer contender in both 1967 and 1996, when a Burger King commercial launched it back onto the charts.) Of course, the real selling point is Cardi herself, who is as charming and over-the-top as ever while gregariously listing off her Oprah’s Favorite Things-level list of things she likes. Dollars, diamonds, stunting, shining, million-dollar deals, Balenciagas that look like socks…who doesn’t like those?
It helps that “I Like It” follows a pretty incredible hot streak for Latin and Caribbean fusion in pop music, including everything from Drake’s “Hotline Bling” groove to Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee teaming up with Justin Bieber for the inescapable smash “Despacito” to Blue Ivy accidentally A&R-ing her mom Beyoncé’s appearance on Balvin’s “Mi Gente.” Tally one more point for the islands.