In this week’s Hive newsletter (which you should sign up for, it’s hilarious!), we joked that music news has made us feel very ’90s lately. Appropriately enough, Mick Boogie and DJ Jazzy Jeff add to the ’90s nostalgia with the third edition of their popular Summertime mix series. To keep that vibe alive, once-upon-a-time rapper Will Smith cleaned the cobwebs on his vocal chords to drop a new verse. The Fresh Prince sounds eerily unchanged over this tame instrumental version of his 21-year-old hit “Summertime,” though he uses his time to show his frustration with the ubiquity of dance music. “Just a little something to break the monotony/ Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be/ A little bit out of control,” he awkwardly raps. “It’s cool to dance/ But what about a groove that soothes and moves romance?” Smith’s delivery might be cheesy, but we kind of agree with him. Thankfully the remaining hour of the mix is a welcome reprieve from the club-friendly jams dominating most summer playlists.
Old-school hip hop serves as the base of the mix (nothing says ‘summer in the city’ quite like Queen Latifah and LL Cool J) but it’s the pop selections that continually surprise and delight. Expect cuts from the Beach Boys, Maroon 5, Jamiroqui, Sugar Ray (!) and yes, Michael McDonald. So when Afrojack’s EDC set gets old and you’re nervous about playing Meek Mill’s mixtape in front of grandma, bask in the funky bass lines, lazy raps and pop melodies of something safe but summery. Besides, Will Smith is your grandma’s favorite rapper anyway.