A downpour of rain didn’t stop die-hard New Yorkers from attending the Hennessy Artistry finale Thursday night at posh hotspot Cipriani. Hosted by raptress Eve, The Roots headlined the event, which brought a mix of legends to the stage. Before the evening’s stars grabbed the mic, DJ D-Nice spun old-to-new school hip-hop tunes and everything in between.
The Roots’ first guest, Q-Tip, graced the stage, looking dapper in a black shirt and white tie combo whilst performing classics like “Bonita Applebum” and “Electric Relaxation.” As the crowd continued vibing, Ron Isley took the crowd back a few years with his smooth R&B flow and sang the smash “Between the Sheets.” In the midst of all the powerhouses, it was Mike Posner who performed his chart-topping single “Cooler Than Me,” ensuring his place on the stage as Black Thought resigned himself to hype man.
Representing for the women of hip-hop, Eve gave a short but energetic performance. The tattooed rhymer, in a white geometric bustier, rapped hits like “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and “Who’s That Girl?” The Roots’ collaborator Erykah Badu came up next, sporting a platinum blond ‘do and gold cuffs that looked as if she would take flight at any second. Erykah sang undeniable gems such as “Bag Lady,” “Window Seat,” and “You Got Me,” all while making beats live on stage.
Just as the crowd didn’t think the night could get any better, Bobby Brown shot on stage and hyped onlookers with “Every Little Step” and “My Prerogative.” As the concert began to wind down, The Roots had one last surprise in store: special guest Mary J. Blige. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul looked radiant and graced the audience with hits “Be Happy,” “I Love You,” and “Real Love.”
Rain or shine, the evening proved that timeless music overcomes even the strongest of storms.