2Pac featuring Dr.Dre – California Love (1995)
If any state in the U.S. has the know-how on how to make summer hits it’s the Sunny State – California. An ode to Cali features another signature West Coast beat that takes control of your body, making you bounce even if you’re from the cold Wisconsin. The choppy chorus is contrasted by the smooth, sharp, but still chilled rapping of Dr. Dre and 2Pac. It’s the best-known song of the legendary 2Pac, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks.
Jay-Z featuring UGK – Big Pimpin’ (2000)
The Caribbean vibe is strong in the Big Pimpin’ instrumental and it’s on its glory that the track is carried into this list. Of course, the flows of the rappers are also on point, differing from one another making the track that much better. A track for those beach parties when life truly looks like a rap video. Timbaland produced the song while on the height of his powers, and while it has Egyptian roots in regards to samples, it feels like a true tropical rap track.
Nelly – Country Grammar (2000)
One might expect for another Nelly track to feature on the list, and while Hot in Here is surely one of the best summer songs ever, it doesn’t make it to the cream of the crop. While the beat for Country Grammar is memorable and bouncy (the drum pattern is based on the song “Soul Love” by David Bowie) it’s Nelly’s flow that made this song such a huge hit. Uplifting during the verses, it only gets higher on the hook!
Kanye West featuring T-Pain – Good Life (2007)
Back in the day when Kanye West was an inspirational musician, he made several uplifting tracks, but none emitted sun rays more than the Good Life. It’s one of the rare tracks where T-Pain’s autotune isn’t irritating, mostly thanks to Kanye West producing, but also due to back vocals provided by John Legend and Ne-Yo. An optimistic song in its core, it will make a winter evening feel like a summer morning.
Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell – Drop it like It’s Hot (2004)
One of the tracks that cemented Pharrell Williams as a go-to guy for making mainstream hits, Drop it Like Its Hot was heard and loved by everyone. The chilled tone of Snoop Dogg’s voice gives the track the desired summer vibe, but Pharrell contributes in the same manner, with a sick, mellow flow. As a proper summer song, Drop It has the instrumental that would make a dead body move, made unforgettable by the deep bass and the unique tongue clicking sound.
Enjoy the hot water, throw a pool party, but first tell us what are some other best summer songs that didn’t make our list?