Hip hop and summer have always shared a symbiotic relationship, with numerous tracks capturing the essence of sun-soaked days, warm nights, and the carefree spirit of the season. One quintessential anthem is DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime." This track, with its laid-back groove and vivid lyrics, perfectly encapsulates the joy of barbecues, cruising in your car, and hanging out with friends. It’s a nostalgic reminder of simpler times and the season's universal pleasures.

Another iconic summer track is 2Pac and Dr. Dre's "California Love." With its infectious beat and celebratory lyrics, this song is a tribute to the West Coast lifestyle. It evokes images of sunny California beaches, parties, and the vibrant street culture. Similarly, Nelly's "Hot In Herre" offers a funky, feel-good vibe that’s perfect for any dance floor. Its catchy hook and lighthearted lyrics make it an enduring summer favorite.

REVOLT decided to list 21 songs that, among others, create soundtracks that define summer experiences. These choice cuts encapsulate the joy, relaxation, and energy of the season, making them timeless staples for any warm weather playlist. Check them out below.

1. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

"Summertime" was a laid-back ode to the carefree vibes of the season. The track became DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s biggest hit as a duo, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and winning a Grammy Award. The song painted a picture of summer activities – playing basketball, attending barbecues, and cruising in a car. The atmosphere is light and nostalgic and celebrates the feeling of spending time with friends and lovers.

2. Lemonade – Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane's "Lemonade,” from his album The State vs. Radric Davis, was an unexpected twist on the summery drink. Instead of refreshment, it offered a braggadocious look at a rapper's extravagant lifestyle. Produced by Bangladesh, the track featured a bouncy beat and a catchy chorus sung by children, which created a playful contrast to Gucci’s boastful lyrics about his diamond jewelry, custom lemon-colored rims, and even his lemon-flavored weed.

3. It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube

"It Was a Good Day" was essentially about a series of fortunate events. Despite Ice Cube's gangsta rap persona, the song focused on simple pleasures – waking up to sunshine, having a good breakfast, and cruising in his car with the music blasting. There's a sense of relief in the lyrics, with lines about avoiding trouble with the police and negative encounters. The upbeat tone and Isley Brothers sample made "It Was a Good Day" a massive hit, becoming Ice Cube's highest-charting single and a surprising contrast to the social commentary found elsewhere on his album The Predator.

4. Hot In Herre – Nelly

For Nelly, it wasn’t just hot outside. The funky, Chuck Brown-sampled "Hot in Herre" humorously described the rising temperature inside a crowded club, with the St. Louis star suggesting increasingly suggestive ways for people to cool down. The chorus's repeated line, "It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your clothes" became a cultural phenomenon, and the song's playful tone and infectious energy made The Neptunes-produced cut a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper.

5. Broccoli – DRAM and Lil Yachty

DRAM and Lil Yachty’s sleeper ode to the stoner lifestyle is a perfect blend of boastful raps and infectious harmonies. DRAM's smooth vocals and Lil Yachty’s signature off-beat delivery created a unique contrast. Despite the differences, the song maintained a cohesive feel, with both artists celebrating everyone’s favorite plant in a lighthearted way. "Broccoli" peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, earned a Grammy nomination, and scored an eight-times-platinum certification.

6. Rump Shaker – Wreckx-N-Effect

"Rump Shaker" became a signature anthem of the new jack swing era. The song boasts a high-energy blend of Hip Hop and R&B with funky keyboard riffs and a driving beat courtesy of producer Teddy Riley. The playful lyrics celebrate a woman's physical attributes, particularly her dancing skills, with the infectious chorus, "Shake what your mama gave you."

7. Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill

The above single is a perfect blend of catchy, dance-worthy Hip Hop with a powerful message. Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" challenged societal expectations in relationships over a smooth, nostalgic production. Hill warned both men and women against being exploited, specifically regarding women chasing money and men prioritizing appearances. The iconic refrain, "That thing, that thing, that thing" became a loaded phrase – a reminder of fleeting pleasures over lasting love. Notably, "Doo Wop" broke records as the first solo female rap song to top the Billboard Hot 100.

8. Drop It Like It's Hot – Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams

"Drop It Like It's Hot" is a hip-hop classic that seamlessly blended West Coast swagger with catchy pop production. The Neptunes-crafted beat features a hypnotic synth line and a spray-paint sound effect, creating a unique soundscape for Snoop's laid-back flow. The song's appeal transcended genres, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming Snoop Dogg's first No. 1 single.

9. Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up) – JAY-Z, Amil, and Beanie Sigel

JAY-Z's "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)" with Amil and Beanie Sigel isn't just a song, it's a high-energy celebration. The lead single from Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter featured production by Rockwilder and boasted a party-ready atmosphere. The song’s catchy chorus and recited itinerary on wax helped make it a Billboard Hot 100 hit.

10. In My Feelings – Drake

"In My Feelings" was an instant success largely thanks to its use of New Orleans bounce. In typical Drake fashion, the lyrics mixed emotional longing with boasts about wealth and the high-end lifestyle. The song became a viral phenomenon thanks to the “Kiki Challenge" dance craze inspired by the song's infectious sing-along chorus. "In My Feelings" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks, breaking streaming records and further solidifying Drake's place as a pop culture juggernaut.

11. The Recipe – Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre

"The Recipe" was a West Coast anthem that introduced listeners to the hallmarks of Californian life. Produced by Scoop DeVille, the song boasted a sunny, laid-back beat perfect for cruising with the windows down. Lamar painted a picture of a carefree lifestyle fueled by success, mentioning "women, weed, and weather" as the key ingredients. Dr. Dre, a West Coast legend himself, added a verse reflecting on his own journey and the lessons learned. "The Recipe" became a popular single despite not making the standard edition of Lamar's debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city.

12. Good Life – Kanye West and T-Pain

Kanye West's "Good Life" with T-Pain was a celebratory anthem about the spoils of success. Taken from Graduation, the catchy cut featured a bouncy, optimistic beat with Ye rapping about indulging in luxuries like champagne flights and expensive cars. T-Pain's signature Auto-Tuned vocals punctuated the chorus with a joyful "welcome to the good life," highlighting the contrast between past struggles and present achievements. "Good Life" earned all parties a top 10 placement on the Billboard Hot 100.

13. No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame, Roscoe Dash, and Wale

The above collaboration remains a timeless ode to a night of uninhibited dancing fueled by money and Moscato. Produced by Drumma Boy, the track’s heavy bass and booming drums perfectly matched Waka Flocka’s boasts about throwing cash while the ladies dance, Roscoe Dash’s catchy chorus, and Wale’s smooth lyrical approach.

14. Pop That – French Montana, Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne

French Montana's "Pop That" was a braggadocious club anthem about wealth and luxurious living. Released as the lead single for Excuse My French, the song featured Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne, each of whom added their signature style to the mix. Lee on the Beats' production is dirty and hard-hitting, built around an 808 drum pattern that pulsated with energy. A looped sample of Uncle Luke's "I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)" added a touch of familiarity to the chorus, where the repeated phrase, "Pop that, don't stop" incites listeners to move.

15. Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix) – Lil Kim, Left Eye, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, and Angie Martinez

A fiery remix of her original track from Hard Core, Lil Kim’s “Not Tonight” upgrade featured an all-star cast of female rappers: Da Brat, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Angie Martinez, and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Each rapper brought their own distinct flow and style, creating a dynamic showcase of female talent. The lyrics celebrated female empowerment and confidence with lines about rejecting unwanted advances and setting boundaries. "Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)" wasn't just a hit, it was a cultural moment and a landmark collaboration.

16. Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature

Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray" became an instant anthem celebrating Hip Hop culture. The song's infectious energy comes from a beat layered with samples from various genres – a proverbial stage for Treach and Vinnie’s lyrical onslaught. The singalong chorus, built around the simple chant, "Hip hop hooray," united listeners in a celebration of the music's energy and cultural impact. The song’s success included a No. 1 placement on Billboard‘s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

17. California Love – 2Pac and Dr. Dre

"California Love” was generally considered to be Tupac Shakur’s comeback single after his highly publicized stint in prison, and it showcased a newfound energy as a result. Dr. Dre's production was bright and bouncy, featuring a signature piano riff and a thumping bassline that encapsulated the sunny California vibes. 2Pac boasted about his return to the rap game with clever wordplay and a smooth flow. The song's hook, featuring the soulful vocals of Roger Troutman, added a layer of sing-along appeal with the iconic line, "California knows how to party."

18. Ruff Ryders Anthem – DMX

DMX's "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" served as a high-octane introduction into the world of one of New York’s most iconic dynasties. Produced by a young Swizz Beatz, the song boasted a dark and menacing beat with growling synths and pounding drums, all of which set the stage for DMX's aggressive rapping style. The song’s simple-yet-effective chorus became a battle cry for the Ruff Ryders and their fans.

19. Back That Azz Up – Juvenile, Lil Wayne, and Mannie Fresh

Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up" – or the censored version, "Back That Thang Up" – helped put New Orleans bounce on the national map. The Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh-assisted cut featured a minimalist beat with a heavy bassline and a signature "brass band" melody. Juvie & Co. used the infectious production to celebrate a woman's dance moves, complete with a call-and-response hook that encouraged listeners to "drop it like it’s hot." The suggestive offering was a top 20 success on the Billboard Hot 100.

20. Regulate – Warren G and Nate Dogg

Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate" is a bona fide West Coast G-funk classic. The smooth, laid-back beat set the scene for Warren G's laid-back narrative about a night out that took a turn for the worse. Nate Dogg's smooth harmonics added to the song's overall quality, and his iconic “regulate” line became a warning for would-be thieves – even as it was delivered with a coolness that defined the late singer’s style. The California vibe reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

21. Player’s Ball (Remix Version) – OutKast

OutKast's "Player's Ball (Remix Version)" took the original track's celebratory vibes and injected it with an extra dose of soul. While the core elements remain – including Big Boi and André 3000's hard-hitting flows – the remix added piano chords to evoke extra feeling. The overall result was a reflection of OutKast and Organized Noize’s willingness to experiment and push boundaries. Despite its unorthodox approach, the remix retained the energy of the original, making it a favorite among fans and a testament to the Dungeon Family’s creative spirit.