After bagging an Academy Award, the Chicago native showed up and showed out. Performing just before his ex, Erykah Badu, Comm ran through a string of his hits including "Come Close," "Testify" and "The Corner." Live band in tow, there were no frills in his set. It was just him, the mic and the people.
MARY J. BLIGE
If you somehow forgot Mary J. Blige's lengthy catalog, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul came to Essence Fest to remind you. Dressed in a flowing red gown and sporting her trademark blond tresses, MJB delivered some of her finest including "Not Gon Cry, "Seven Days," "No More Drama," "Enough Cryin," "Take Me As I Am," and "I Just Wanna Be Happy." Just when everyone thought they'd explode from the emotion, Mary brought out Method Man to perform their classic 1994 hit "You're All I Need." I, along with everyone in the stadium, got our entire life. All hail the queen.
The fun-sized comic has come a long way from doing shows at hole-in-the wall venues to now selling out stadiums. On Thursday (July 2), Kev took to the Essence Fest stage to basically talk trash about how much of a punk he is, his inability to speak fluent Starbucks, his crazy kids and a fiancee that pulls no punches. Just like his other stand-up gigs, Hart's What Now? show is chock full of epic one-liners and memeable moments.
With her head wrap, top hat, ankh and those beautiful green eyes, Erykah Bad, a.k.a. "The Analog Girl in A Digital World," put everyone at ease at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Backed by her band, Erykah stuck to the classics including the break up anthem, "Out of My Mind, Just In Time," "Tyrone," and "Soldier" from 2008's New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War. In between songs, FatBellyBella cracked jokes on the crowd and other ESSENCE Fest performers. It's always good times when Ms. Badu is around.
Disclaimer: I'm not the biggest Trigga fan. I recognize his sexy and his stash of hits, but Trey doesn't do it for me. However, my respect for the Virginia vocalist increased after seeing him on the Essence Fest main stage. The 30-year-old serenader didn't satiate the desire of women in the audience by taking off his shirt, but he did ooze beaucoup sex appeal when performing "Neighbors Know My Name." As red lights set the mood in the Superdome, Trey, somehow, created an intimate atmosphere in an arena of nearly 400,000 square feet. The highlight of Tremaine's set was the performance of his sultry tune "Slow Motion." He then brought out Nawlins native Juvenile to also perform his 2004 version.
Although Essence Fest draws an older crowd, the Compton Kid brought good vibes while performing his signature tracks from his uber successful debut good Kid, m.A.A.d city and recent release To Pimp A Butterfly. Throughout his set, he'd make eye contact with folks in the first few rows and shout them. However, Kendrick stopped the music to speak specifically to one lucky fan in the front. In a heartfelt message, K. Dot told one youngin' to remove all negative energy from his life and ensured that if he does, he'll succeed. A unanimous "Aww" filled the stadium before he seamlessly went into his electrifying and uplifting single, "Alright." This may have been Kendrick's first year at ESSENCE Fest, but we're sure it won't be his last.