Hip-hop started out in the parks of New York City as dance music for outdoor parties, and no matter how lyrical, spiritual, political, or philosophical the music has gotten in the three-and-a-half decades since the birth of the culture, as an artist, you're still only as good as your ability to move the crowd. Hip-hop most resembles its party rocking roots in the summertime, when people seem to gravitate toward the most adroit good-timey songs and artists adjust their release schedules to accommodate.
Every summer's got that one song you hear tumbling out of car stereos and pumping through neighbors' walls between June and September. Summer anthems are as crucial to hip-hop as kicks and snares, so we've put together a list of every song of the summer since 1979. Some of these were close calls, so we've granted honorable mention status to runner ups.
2013 is still too early to call, what with Kanye planning to bomb the summer with Yeezus and Drake quietly dropping odds and ends in advance of Nothing Was the Same, so the list cuts off at 2012. Did we miss anything? Who's taking the honor for summer 2013? Let us know in the comments.