We're a day away from Hot 97's annual Hip Hop and R&B concert, Summer Jam, and with an epic line up that includes top artists such as: Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Childish Gambino, Fabolous -- just to name a few -- Music Times exclusively spoke to Ebro In the Morning host and radio legend, Ebro, to get inside scoop of what fans should expect and surprise are in store at the Met Life Stadium.
MT: Summer Jam is coming up. You guys have a lot of big names... I mean it's been going on for years, what do you think it means for Hip Hop?
Ebro: What does it mean for hip-hop? It's the only hip hop and R&B concert at a stadium in the world, you know? It's the longest running annual event for Hip Hop probably in the world. I think it's statement too, a testament to the brand, Hot 97. Also, a testament to the love and music NYC has. You know, it's speaking volumes just what were able to accomplish as a radio station and community in New York city to put this together every year, it's dope man, just to put this together.
MT: So, I know you guys really don't have a headliner, and I know Rosenberg was excited about Kendrick Lamar being a part of it this year, who are you looking forward to seeing at the stage?
Ebro: I guess I'm looking forward to Meek, looking forward to what Meek's gonna do on that stage, Big Sean and all their celebrity guests. Kendrick [Lamar] is always great to see live because he doesn't have to have guests and do all that sh*t. He rocks his songs from the back, I'm excited about that. Trying to think what else am I excited about that I can talk to you about... um. Fab has a great thing lined up that he's been working on for a few weeks so that's gonna be awesome too. So yeah, I mean I'm excited about the whole thing. I don't actually get to see any of these things, I see them in small clips after because I work in the back, so I don't even get to see the performances really.
MT: During an interview, you said you had to convince Fabulous to actually perform, and he said he would only do if he had friends. Do you ever get "no's" from artists?
Ebro: Oh yeah, not a lot but there's artists that don't like the size of the stadium, they feel it's too big; they feel like they can't connect with the fans (they don't like that); artists who don't like the stress of having to figure out, you know, what their surprises will be and how to choreograph that whole thing. There are even artists who think they feel the fans there are too particular and don't...and are a little too hard on them.
I mean its not common but there are some who don't like it. I mean some do, there are definitely some that do
MT: You said your looking forward to Meek hittin' the stage. He's now dating Nicki, so do you think he might bring her on the stage, despite past issues at Summer Jam?
Ebro: It seems they go to the same places.
MT: Yeah, despite her past issues with Rosenberg -- granted they made up -- do you think she would be hitting the stage with him or just making an appearance?
Ebro: I mean it's possible, honestly she was there last year. She loves coming out there and showing the fans love, so it's definitely something that can happen. It's definitely plausible.
MT: Have you faced any difficulties, difficult artists you needed to accommodate or slots being missed over delayed/ missed flights?
Ebro: Oh, yeah! Of course, I mean you know missing a flight isn't an artist being difficult. People miss flights all the time but you know they're artists at that moment, they are about to hit the stage and you know they want switch their slots, they don't wanna go on before this or after that person... People have their issues, they are very particular and sensitive and emotional and you know, you gotta work through that stuff.
MT: Yeah, so what's the most memorable moment from past Summer Jam events that you still think of today?
Ebro: Well, one of the most talked about is Jay Z and Michael Jackson. Um it's definitely a memorable moment but you can't find any footage of it because it was before camera phones and all that. You know I loved Eminem and 50 Cent on that stage together back in 2003 -- that was dope. I also love Nas and Lauren Hill. Obviously, the whole Nicki Minaj, Rosenberg thing was a negative. I didn't love that, but I loved having Nicki, Drake and Lil Wayne on that stage together last year. I loved having Lil Wayne right after he got out of jail come out. I loved... I'm trying to think of some other ones... Kanye West and Swizz Beats battling song-for-song in '05-'06. I love it man!
MT: I know when I was listening you guys make an announcement for the line-up, you said that Childish Gambino graduated from the festival stage and now is on the grand stage. Now what does it take for an artist to actually grace the big stage?
Ebro: I mean, it takes some massive hits man! You can't just have one song and get up that main stage. You gotta have a few songs under your belt. You gotta also have a fan base. We don't want to put you out there if you're not caliber on that stage
MT: When you think about it, what about Bobby Shmurda? If he didn't have legal issues, do you think he would have been on that stage with only one big single?
Ebro: I mean probably, not featured, he would have been featured at the festival first. I mean, he might have been brought out as a special guest at first on the main stage but not featured. He would only have one song.
MT: But would you have considered him to be a part of it?
Ebro: Of course!
MT: Have you spoken to him recently? I know he reaches out to you more so.
Ebro: I haven't talked to him since... it's been weeks. I talked to his mother though. Talked to his mom, what's going on with him, what we can do, she keeps telling me, I don't have great credit. So, I definitely don't have two million dollars worth of credit. You know, that's what it would take for someone to bail him out -- collateral of two million dollars. $200,000 in cash because you gotta put up -- what is it? Ten- twenty percent whatever it is, about ten percent? The collateral you gotta have is something worth two million just in case he's at flight risk. I don't have that so...
MT: Oh, so you would have done it for them?
Ebro: We were brainstorming and yeah, if I had two million in collateral? You know, I don't think Bobby's gonna run, but I don't got it like that. I mean where's he gonna run too?
MT: If you could pick five artists that are dead or alive to grace the Summer Jam stage who would it be?
Ebro: Listen, If I could have my five dream artists on Summer Jam it would be Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Sade, Biggie and Pac. If you put all those acts on stage and mother*cka still complained... [laughs].