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.
Cardi B’s cravensexybrilliant “I Like It” is shaping up to be the consensus pick for 2018’s Song of the Summer. What’s more, it’s on track to take the trophy from DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” in the all-time contest for most shameless yet undeniable pop reboot of an already-iconic song. But “Black Paint,” from rap-rock-industrial-noise-punk computer viruses Death Grips, is worth consideration as a different kind of summer jam. Even though the whole paint-your-windows-black, ‘noided agoraphobe vibe isn’t exactly my summer feeling of choice, the aggro “I require privacy” chorus of “Black Paint” will still resonate in the relative isolation of a sunny headphone walk.
Think of it this way: “I Like It” paves the way forward with a new twist on a familiar recipe, sampling the 1967 Pete Rodriguez original whose biggest cultural moment prior to this came from a mid-Nineties Burger King commercial. Death Grips pave their road to the always-online future by pointing back to another stretch of the Nineties, the one between Woodstock ’94 and Woodstock ’99. “Black Paint” is Nine Inch Nails, the Judgment Night soundtrack, Atari Teenage Riot, Korn, Deerhoof, Onyx, Boredoms and Bomb Hip-Hop Records’ Revenge of the B-Boy turntablism albums. Plug in and paint it, black.