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Essence Fest 2022 Recap, Night 3: The Lox, The Roots & New Edition Put Nostalgia First In An Epic Finale
From Ron Isley's still-silky vocals to Jadakiss and Lil' Kim putting on for the hip-hop heads, the last night of the Festival of Culture gave audiophiles life, love and laughs.
The final day of the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture was one not to miss — and one full of hits. After Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Jazmine Sullivan, and Summer Walker put on for the ladies in a major way on Friday and Saturday, New Edition and the Isley Brothers were two of the many acts to bring the nostalgia on Sunday night.
The throwback celebration began with Black Thought and Questlove getting their Okayplayer on for the Roots & Friends portion of Day 3. One of those friends, Ashanti — a seemingly ageless talent — was breathtakingly gorgeous on stage while celebrating the 20th anniversary of her self-titled first album. Having already ran through her hit song, "Happy (Remix)," she really got into her bag with "Rock With You (Aww Baby)."
The time she spent next to the illest band from Illadelph was short, but she stayed on to introduce the next guest, Method Man, as they sang his unforgettable 1995 smash, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By." Jogging from left to right, he gave the audience a literal run for their money as he segued right into his titular track from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
The Wu, who are commemorating the 25th anniversary of their second album, Wu-Tang Forever, weren't ready to let the crowd go. Hot Nikkel opened the guillotine for Ghostface Killah and Raekwon to come and do their thing as they played "Cherchez LaGhost," and playfully ad-libbed while the Roots got busy as the backing band.
Seeing Quest and Co. add some N'Awlins Bounce to Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band's "Cherchez La Femme" immediately had a few fans swinging beads — with one adventurous person really getting into the New Orleans spirit by attempting to flash Mef and Ghost as they left the stage.
The next performers, the Lox, would later find their MVP rhymesayer, Jadakiss, remarking on how tough it is to keep up with a live band. "It may look easy on TV," he told host Angela Yee, "but it takes a lot of rehearsal, a lot of timing to stay in step with a band like the Roots."
During their portion of the set, 'Kiss and Styles P jumped feet first into "We Gon' Make It." Later, Jadakiss rapped his "Who Shot Ya (Freestyle)" verse (which became one of last year's most indelible moments from the Verzuz battle between his crew and Harlem's Dipset).
When Lil' Kim popped out for her show-stealing verse on "It's All About the Benjamins" — which also turns 25 this year — the crowd joined in, welcoming her with all the praise and flowers of a returning rap conqueror. From there she would stay in the pocket, spitting her bars from "Money, Power, Respect," "Put Your Lighters Up," her Foxy Brown diss from Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm (Remix)," and closing with the always-relevant "Crush On You."
The Roots & Friends performance brought a special sauce that will surely make hip-hop aficionados look forward to the genre's 50th anniversary in 2023.
New Edition continued bringing the classics with their set, which had Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Johnny showing why they're collectively one of the best groups to ever do it. While the Isley Brothers — with their unmistakable vocals and guitar playing — gave evocative vibes throughout the Caesars Superdome, New Edition held us all in the palm of their collective hands.
Not too far removed from their own outing, The Culture Tour, the iconic group have gone from boys to men to elder statesmen who still feel fresh today. Decked out in their finest wares, New Edition delivered pure joy instead of heartbreak as they moved in sync to songs like "Candy Girl" and "Mr. Telephone Man," which showcased how years of dedication can keep an artist forever young.
As a de facto blueprint for how the modern boy-band phenomenon came into frame, the group's founder, Bobby Brown, raised the roof with his solo performance. Highlighting just how much he truly was the "King of R&B" at one point, the 53-year-old danced and sweated happily through "Roni" and "Don't Be Cruel," making everyone in the crowd excited to see him do his thing.
Everyone in the group was on point, to be frank. It felt like New Edition was really blessed and thankful to be together at that moment. Whether those in attendance had seen all of Sunday's acts in their prime or were part of a new generation experiencing the magic, there was pure Black joy ringing throughout New Edition's entire set — and the night as a whole.
You can watch New Edition's full performance here, and head to GRAMMY.com for more coverage of Essence Fest 2022.
Photo: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images
Questlove Pens New Book: 'Creative Quest'
GRAMMY-winning Roots drummer set to release his fourth book on the creative process in April 2018
No stranger to writing books, Questlove has announced his fourth book, Creative Quest, will arrive April 24, 2018.
According to a statement from the book's publisher, Creative Quest "synthesizes all the creative philosophies, lessons and stories [Questlove has] heard from the many creators and collaborators in his life, and reflects on his own experience, to advise readers and fans on how to consider creativity and where to find it."
Not only will the Roots drummer provide personal examples of creativity, he also taps into the lessons he has learned from other notable artists, such as George Clinton, Björk, Ava DuVernay, and David Byrne, equaling a journey full of creative inspiration.
The book is available to pre-order, and follows his other books: 2016's Something To Food About: Exploring Creativity With America's Most Innovative Chefs, 2015's Mo' Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove and 2013's Soul Train: The Music, Dance And Style Of A Generation.
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Robyn, The Isley Brothers & HAIM To Headline Pitchfork Music Fest 2019
The 14th annual music festival will take over Chicago's Union Park July 19-21
Pitchfork has revealed the lineup of their 14th annual Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago set to take place July 19-21. The exciting, eclectic musical offering is perfectly embodied by its headliners: GRAMMY-nominated dancefloor-pop innovator Robyn, GRAMMY-winning godfathers of funk The Isley Brothers and GRAMMY-nominated folky-pop sister trio HAIM.
The Isley Brothers, consisting of remaining members Ronald and Ernie Isley, will be celebrating their 60th anniversary as a group at the fest, bringing the funk with "special guests," Pitchfork reports. GRAMMY winning blues and gospel icon Mavis Staples will bring her long-time musical excellence to the the three-day event as well.
Several innovative acts that got their start in the '90s will be performing: London-based avant-garde dream-pop group Stereolab, Scottish folk-pop band Belle & Sebastian and Swedish GRAMMY-nominated MC Neneh Cherry, who earned a nod for Best New Artist at the 32nd GRAMMY Awards in 1999.
The festival prides itself on highlighting emerging talent; some of the up-and-comers on the lineup are 20-year-old dream-pop artist Clairo, L.A.-based social activist/rapper JPEGMAFIA, French-Cuban electro-soul sister duo Ibeyi and 21-year-old NYC-based rapper Rico Nasty.
Weekend and single day tickets are on sale now; visit the fest's site for more info and the complete lineup.
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Questlove Keynote & More Added To ASCAP I Create Music Expo
Other additions to the expo include a panel on emo rap and Nashville's take on of international sounds
The Roots drummer will also be presented with ASCAP Creative Voice Award, the membership organization announced. Others added to the expo panels include GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer TOKiMONSTA. The event will take place May 2−4 in Los Angeles at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.
"This Is Us" composer Sidd Khosla, Freddy Kennett of Louis The Child, songwriter Priscilla Renea and singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop were also added as panelists.
Among other additions: The Rise of Emo rap panel featuring Morgan Freed, producer Charlie Shuffler, and artists Lil Aaron and Kreayshawn and Nashville Goes Global, which will feature Ashley Gorley, Tommee Profitt, Chris Farren, Steven Battey and Dave Kuncio and will explore the city's support of international sounds.
For more information on how to attend the expo, visit ASCAP's website.
Questlove at RBMA event in 2013
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Red Bull Music Academy Closes, Shares Over Two Decades Of Lectures
You can now watch lectures from GRAMMY winners D' Angelo, Questlove, Bootsy Collins and others on Red Bull Music Academy's online archive
Yesterday, Oct. 31, the Red Bull Music Academy officially ended after hosting 21 years of lectures, showcases, concerts and content with forward-thinking artists across the globe. Now, all of their content—over 500 lectures, as well as deep-dive features, interviews and other videos—is available for free on their website.
The archive showcases the extensive content library organized by categories like "Chicago: House and hip-hop, footwork and Frankie Knuckles: Examining the abundance of talent born and bred in the Windy City." Here you can find a feature examining the influence of Chicago and Detroit's underground house scenes on current-day techno, as well as Chicago house legend Larry Heard's 2018 RBMA lecture.
Other archive categories include "Beat-Making: The stories behind our favorite beats and beat-makers," "Afrofuturism: Reimagining black history and exploring black features in music" and "DIY: Stories and lectures showcasing resourceful creativity."
The company will continue to offer music programming and events in a more decentralized, locally focused fashion with their Red Bull Music arm. Back in April, they announced their plan to discontinuing RBMA and Red Bull Radio and split with Yadastar, the creative and marketing agency that led the two programs.
Launched back in 1998, RBMA tapped hundreds of emerging and established avant-garde musicians, producers and more to share their music, stories and knowledge, giving them a well-regarded platform to connect with other creatives and fans.
The main event was the annual "Academy," where "artists from around the world came together in a different host city to learn from musical luminaries—and each other—and collaborate in custom-built studios," according to the website. In addition to the annual event, RBMA hosted their own festivals, stages at other events, club nights, workshops and Red Bull Radio.
As Pitchfork pointed out, "acts including Flying Lotus, SOPHIE, Objekt and Nina Kraviz benefitted to various degrees from a broad infrastructure that included international concerts and festivals as well as access to high-end equipment and studios."
You can visit redbullmusicacademy.com to dive into the archive.