It’s officially here, the holiday known as the beginning of summer: Memorial Day. Although the sun-filled season technically doesn’t start towards the end of June, Memorial Day is the kickoff to sun-kissed skin, sundress attire, drop top cars, treks to the beach, and of course—the cookouts! However you can’t make your way to catch waves or attend a family function without the right tunes to celebrate the weekend the right way. As the warmer season approaches, here are ten classic songs to get you through Memorial weekend.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “Summertime”
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, no summer playlist is complete without the defining track from Will Smith a.k.a. The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff. There’s just something about the summer season that puts people in a better mood and “Summertime” is an added bonus. Whether the season calls for island getaways, rooftop brunches, or yacht parties, warm weather brings positive vibes for an all-around good time. In the song Big Willie spits, “Here it is the groove slightly transformed / Just a bit of a break from the norm,” because when it’s nice outside, there isn’t anything that could possibly bring you down. The rapper and his DJ dropped “Summertime” back in 1991, however it’s one of those tracks that you can continue to play 25 summers from now.
Mack Morrison, “Return of the Mack”
If there was ever a list about post break-up songs to help you get your swag back, “Return of the Mack” is easily a top five contender. If you’ve been handling those workout goals through winter and spring, summer is right around the corner, a.k.a. choosing season. British artist Mack Morrison released his ageless track back in 1996 and it’s still a song that can boost up anyone’s confidence. Play this song during your Memorial Day cookout and you’ll be asking the DJ to put in on repeat.
Amerie, “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”
On the flipside, summer is all about being beautiful, vibrant, and full of life. It’s also the perfect time to find new love and R&B singer Amerie brings it out on her breakthrough hit, “Why Don’t We Fall In Love.” In the video, a man walks down the stoop of his crib to pop in a cassette tape and that’s when the Amerie beat drops. The sun is beaming down on the singer’s melanin skin as she strolls through town watching neighbors play basketball, wash their fly whips, and relax in the park. Whenever you hear someone say, “It’s Amerie weather,” that means the sun is shining and summer is here!
Beenie Man feat. Janet Jackson, “Feel It Boy”
“Feel It Boy” from reggae artist Beenie Man and Janet Jackson is one of those tracks that will go down in history as one of the best songs produced by hit makers The Neptunes. The Dave Meyers-directed video is set on a beach filled with dope party vibes in the sand. If your holiday includes traveling to islands such as Jamaica or Barbados, then this a song to get you in full wanderlust mode.
Portrait, “Here We Go Again”
When music lovers think of ‘90s R&B groups, there were a number of them that released the perfect party anthems. Portrait was among those groups who dropped a second single and ended up being their biggest hit record. “Here We Go Again” is the song you want to hear on your way to the cookout. If you think of what’s a good summer song to drive to, just make sure this Portrait track is the first on your playlist.
2pac, “I Get Around”
Seriously, if you’re handling the duties of being a DJ, you must have a 2pac song in rotation. No excuses! The rapper’s 1993 hit “I Get Around” is essential to play all summer long. Besides the infectious production and fire bars from Makaveli, the video shows the epitome of all summer house parties.
Mariah Carey feat. Mase and The Lox, “Honey”
It was back in 1997 when the world saw a different side of Mariah Carey. She started taking more risks with new looks and experimenting with different Hip-Hop sounds. Her sixth album Butterfly gave fans her leading single “Honey” produced by Diddy, Q-Tip, and Stevie J. Bad Boy Records was running the game back in this era!
Jagged Edge feat. Nelly, “Where The Party At”
There was a time when hit maker Jermaine Dupri and his So So Def family were ruling airwaves. Dupri’s R&B group Jagged Edge released their third album Jagged Little Thrill back in 2001, spawning their number one hit “Where The Party At.” Whenever your friends are texting you about moves to make, this is the song for them! Like the song says, “Aye where the party at? / Girls is on the way / Where the Bacardi at?”
Zhane, “Hey Mr. DJ”
There’s no doubt that the ‘90s era was a prime time for music and R&B duo Zhane contributed a couple club bangers. The two singers complimented each other well with their different tones and various falsettos. Throw on their hit song “Hey Mr. DJ” for a smooth vibe.
The Gap Band, “Outstanding”
A summer playlist isn’t complete without showing love to the generations before us, and the old school is a timeless genre. R&B and funk group The Gap Band are dropped a number of eclectic soul back in the day, perfect for making their listeners feel good. If the party is starting to wind down, have the DJ play “Outstanding” and the entire crowd will be doing their best rendition of the electric slide.
What songs did we forget to put on our Memorial Day Throwback Playlist? Let us know in the comments section, and be sure to enjoy yourself and kick back at All Slots. They have hundreds of games to choose from at All Slots, so be sure to take a look at their selection for the holiday.
Mya Singleton a.k.a. Mya Melody is a music writer hailing from the Bay Area. As the current music editor for TSFJ, think of her as the playlist virtuoso or the audio aficionado for sports fans everywhere. Although music is her first love, she occasionally partakes in any argument regarding the NBA. She's a huge Kobe Bryant fan who's still upset Chris Paul never became a Laker. To this day, Hardball is one of the saddest movies she's ever watched, R.I.P. G-Baby! Follow her as she navigates to change the face of music journalism and remember, a wise philosopher once said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."