The Hot 97 team has also announced that for the first time, they will use an app to find an unsigned rapper to perform on the Festival Stage via their "Who’s Next" chatbot. Through this app, fans will be able to rate contenders, and the top trending rappers will vie for the attention of on-air personality and Festival Stage curator TT Torrez.
For its quarter-life milestone, Hot 97 has chosen the theme "94 'Til Infinity," a play on the title of Souls of Mischief's debut album 93 'Til Infinity and its hit title track. Ebro Darden, Hot 97 morning show host and assistant program director, explained how the theme was selected. "Our team got together and felt the theme, '94 'Til Infinity,' captured where Summer Jam is today launching into the 25th year," Darden said in a press release announcing the lineup. "We wanna make sure the culture knows we plan to keep it cracking for the Tri-State & hip-hop. Summer Jam has established itself as a mainstay in an artist’s evolution since the beginning, and we will keep working with artists and fans to keep the same energy."
Hot 97 host Funk Flex also shared his views on the history of Summer Jam. "Summer Jam has been epic since the days when the music wasn’t considered one of the most consumed genres like it is today. We’ve worked hard to put Hip-Hop and Summer Jam on the map and this year will be no different."
In previous years, performances at Summer Jam have been career boosters for some of today’s biggest stars in hip-hop and R&B, including Cardi B, Donald Glover (as Childish Gambino) and Chance the Rapper.
Hot 97’s 2018 Summer Jam will return to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Tickets for the event go on sale to the general public Friday at 10 a.m ET. A special pre-sale will open up to American Express card members between April 17 and April 19. For more information, visit Hot 97’s website.