With graduation SZN on the horizon, I find it a very opportune time to put out the blueprint for the perfect cookout tunes. The coveted cookout playlist has always been a stroke of genius. You were in awe when the family DJ would take your favorite song and mix it into Return of the Mack. You never had to experience biting into your burnt hot dog to a top 40 hit. If you can’t relate, I’m sorry. For those of us who didn’t spend as much as thirty minutes from where the music was spraying from, you have been being primed for this moment for years. Now while every great cookout playlist is lined with classics like Summertime, I wanted to touch on a handful of current to somewhat current jams that I feel are ready to be inducted into the cookout hall of fame. Feel free to leave your cookout favorites in the comments or tweet me, as I’m always up for making a playlist.
- Unforgettable (feat. Swae Lee)
We’ve recently been hit with a string of “dance challenges” over social media, and this bop falls right in line. From the catchy hook down to the smooth beat, this song definitely shows why it should stand up amongst the senior cookout playlist tracks. With the spark Unforgettable got from the challenge videos, it is safe to say the cool cousins will definitely be making their own version when this drops as the sun starts to go down on little Ray Ray’s birthday bash.
- Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos)
I MIGHT! Sorry, I couldn’t contain myself there. This track might have 1,600 plays on my iTunes alone, but that’s none of your business. I didn’t know I needed a Migos x Frank Ocean collaboration until I got one. Not only is Slide good enough for the younger generation, but I’m willing to bet you that the favorite auntie will definitely bust out the electric slide to this joint. Well she was going to bust out the electric slide anyway, because that’s all the auntie’s go to. That is neither here nor there, I didn’t think Calvin Harris could pull a more genius move than dumping Taylor Swift, but boy was I wrong. This track definitely deserves to get remixed in a few times throughout the cookout as new guests enter and exit. Just act like you’re in the zone when you hear somebody say “We already heard this”.
- Work (feat. Drake)
If this isn’t our oldie at the cookouts in 2060, then all of this was for nothing. I mean come on, Work spent 9 weeks at the top of the charts. It would be utterly rude to leave it out of the cookout discussion. Just picture it, it’s around 4 p.m. and you didn’t eat all day waiting for this food thats about to bless you. The angst has built up at this point, but then the DJ throws on this joint and instantly you are at peace. No matter the mood or the time of the day this is going to rock, and it deserves to follow Mary J. Blige’s Real Love on the playlist or else.
- Shining (feat. Beyoncé & JAY Z)
This should actually be playing as you pull up to be honest. I forgot they robbed Bey at the Grammys when Khaled dropped this single. I thought about ribs with all the fixings by the time I got to the end of my first listen. Jay and Bey are not new to the cookout playlist, I mean you should hear them together and separately a few times at the cookout or the DJ is slacking. “All this winning? I been losing my mind.” Sounds like every senior’s thoughts after seeing their final grades.
This came into the rotation while you were in the kitchen sneaking that last little bit of crown into your coke. Your mama’s friend caught you and just started laughing because what can she say, you are a grown man now. This is the jam you save to the later parts of the cookout when all the randoms have made their ways on to the next move. Sure ya’ll are fighting off the mosquitoes, but once you get back from packing your to-go box, you can discuss with the family over Passionfruit what your future plans are. The vibes this track exudes are undeniable. The older crew will definitely approve. Get ready to have your singing interrupted by all of them asking every other five seconds, “Is this Drake?’.
Stay woke. A reminder for every black individual on this Earth. Now while cookouts bring us together for many things, the summer is normally a host to cookouts dealing with graduation or going away get togethers. While both of these situations represent a new chapter of life, this track from Mr. Glover is definitely essential to not only soothe the mind, but also to remind us to remain vigilant. The old school vibe of Redbone will also pair very well with some of its older counterparts. Making it a very easy choice from current selections to be added to the mix.
- That’s What I Like
The whole 24K Magic album could bump at any point during the cookout and you’d be safe, but this is definitely a crucial bop. Bruno adds a little funk to this that is just too hard to resist. The youngsters won’t be able to discern this track from the old jams that they’ve heard in the past. But don’t get it twisted, when you hear this tune early on Sunday, it isn’t your mom warning you that it is cleanup day, but that it is time to get the alcohol flowing and throw the steaks on the grill.
Now, I didn’t give you a whole playlist, but if this isn’t motivation I don’t know what is. I don’t know about you but now I have a whole playlist that I need to get started on, and I already got dibs on the playlist title: ISSA COOKOUT, so I better not see it anywhere 🙂