Summer Jam 97

Source: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz

Summertime is in full effect, which means no one knows how to act. Some of us will be chasing bags, and some of us will be shaking ass. And while everyone’s summer goals aren’t the same, one thing we can all agree on is that in order to have a successful summer, you have to have a poppin’ playlist.

Summer ‘19 is lining up to be a good one, with a handful of bangers already topping the charts. Megan Thee Stallion — one of the hottest new artists out — is leading the pack with her beauty, individuality, bomb music, and true sense of self. Even though the fellas are hilariously trying to hop on Meg’s bandwagon and make “hot boys” a thing this season, we’re all in agreement that this will in fact be a “hot girl summer.” Not to mention, it won’t be our first.

Fellas, do y’all even know what a hot girl is? Let me school y’all real quick.

Hot girls were around generations before ours birthed independent beauties showing us that a hot girl isn’t a singular thing, but a multitude of characteristics that come together — ultimately making you “that bitch.” The early 2000s, for example, were iconic for many reasons, and there was no shortage of hot girl energy. From models and video vixens to performers and scholars, the early ‘00s brought on a new era of confident women.

Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell taught us how to strut down every sidewalk like it’s your runway. Lil Kim showed us that despite what some men would have us believe, women are sexual beings, too. Remy Ma gave us “Conceited,” making sure we could “dip it low pick it up slow, poke it out now roll with it” with confidence (Shoutout to Miss Milian). And Supa Head showed us you could be a supa hoe with 0 regrets and make a name for yourself.

There are levels to this sh*t, and Black culture has always played a large role in it. I don’t care who you are — when you hear “Cash money records taking over for the 99’ and the 2000s,” you’re going to get up and act TF out. That’s that instant hot girl energy: the confidence to get up and dance because the music makes you want to, not because you feel like you have to.

“Knuck If You Buck” made bangers out of all of us, and the Ying Yang twins gave “Salt Shaker” a whole new meaning. Fashion statements like high-heeled sneakers, Jersey dresses, full sets with the hand-drawn flower designs, and a wash-and-set doobied up oozed with hot girl energy. Beautiful souls like Aaliyah inspired individualism with her fire-ass red carpet outfits. Outspoken souls like Dennis Rodman (hot boy alert!) proved that no matter your sex, you could express yourself however you’d like.

Though the culture has evolved and the thought of what a “hot girl” is has broadened, the vibes are the same. We’re in an era where the women of hip-hop and R&B have stepped up and showed out. But what about the people we don’t see when we turn on the TVs and browse Insta? Do you have to be in the public eye or be a certain size? Have to have a bangin’ body or pay for one? Fellas, is it all about impressing you? The truth is: what a “hot girl” is to some doesn’t necessarily apply for all. Not every woman is born with a “hot girl” mentality, but instead are trying to cultivate one.

 In the words of model and muse @lvndrwater, “I guess maybe for me it could mean being more comfortable in my skin, loving myself naked, turning up despite my anxieties, building my confidence enough so no ones opinion will matter, and loving myself fully.” Many of us grow into ourselves, building confidence and self-worth along the way and that’s okay. As a child plagued with anxiety, poor social skills, chubbiness, a seven head, and confusion about who I was and who I loved, you can say I definitely didn’t have that “I’m the shit” mentality. But in the privacy of my own home, I liked to envision myself as a member of Destiny’s Child, making up dance routines and lip-synching to artists like Cassie and Lumidee.

More importantly, I filled my mind with stories about goddesses like Aberewa, Nefertiti, Oshun, Ala, and Artemis. The confidence and poise that these beings possessed pushed me as I got older to embrace my own sense of self. Now as an adult I am a lot more sure of myself, I work on my self-love daily, wear what I want when I want, embrace every curve and dimple on my body, I speak how I want to speak, move how I want to move, and love who I want to love. I’m working on my mental health and am no longer ashamed of my diagnosis. I AM BLACK, BEAUTIFUL, AND UNASHAMED. I make sure that I’m not only seen, but that I am heard. I’ve accepted that I’m not for everyone and that’s okay because I’m still going to do me regardless. Personally, this has been my journey to my hot girl freeness.

The world is full of bold beautiful colorful hot girls doing the damn thing every day and — all tea, no shade — a lot of you fellas overlook the true power of everyday women… mothers breastfeeding with pride, women grinding day-by-day so they can make it to the top, women fighting to have a voice in a world that believes we should be seen and not heard. If you know a woman still finding themselves and their place in this world, tell ’em “we see you baby.” To the ladies who might be reading this: keep searching for what works for you and what makes you feel good and happy. You’ve got that drive, that confidence, and that glow? Then you’re one of the hottest bitches you know!

From throwbacks to today’s hits, the playlist below puts you on to true hot girl energy and shows you how it’s varied over time. Fellas, y’all definitely played a part:

Toni Braxton – “He Wasn’t Man Enough”

Foxy Brown  Feat. Dru Hill – “Big Bad Mama”

Whitney Houston – “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”

Lil Kim Feat. Sisqo – “How Many Licks?”

Tweet – “Oops (Oh My)”

B2K – “Bump, Bump, Bump”

Beyoncé – “Naughty Girl”

Destiny’s Child – “Lose My Breath”

Mariah Carey, Fatman Scoop, & Jermaine Dupri – “It’s Like That”

Cassie – “Me & U”

Crime Mob – “Rock Yo Hips”

Huey – “Pop, Lock & Drop It”

Ne-Yo Feat. Jamie Foxx & Fabolous – “She Got Her Own”

Jazmine Sullivan – “Bust Your Windows”

Lil Mama – “Lip Gloss”

Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya & Pink – “Lady Marmalade”

Trina – “Fuck Boy”

Janelle Monae – “PYNK”

Mulatto – “Bitch From Da Souf”

Lizzo – “Juice”

City Girls – “Act Up”

Doja Cat Feat. Rico Nasty – “Tia Tamera”

Nicki Minaj – “Megatron”

Qveen Herby- “Sade In The 90s”

Cardi B – “Money”

Kash Doll – “Ice Me Out”

070 Shake – “Mirrors”

070 Shake – “Glitter”

Summer Walker – “Girls Need Love”

Queen Naija – “Medicine”

Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats – “Big Titties”

Solange – “Binz”