Friday night (June 23), BET Experience had its second night of a three-night concert event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. On this night, H.E.R., T.H.E.Y., Khalid, Jidenna, Jhene Aiko, DJ Khaled and Friends and Bryson Tiller gave fans a night to remember with smooth performances and surprises.
In the last few years, R&B has expanded to include new fusions of sounds up-and-comers are using as nostalgia from the heyday of the ’90s with the genre-bending culture of today’s musical landscape. Artists like T.H.E.Y. evoke strong voices and riveting melody along with fresh electronic, dance or even African production to breathe a different life into the longstanding lane.
Every performance on Friday night captured the different flavors of modern-day R&B. Bryson Tiller gave a refreshing set complete with the chill and reflective cuts on Trapsoul and new sounds of “True to Self.” H.E.R. and T.H.E.Y. both gave solid individual performances that showed their promise in the game. Jidenna gave the crowd a little flair with his fun and energetic set complete with tribal graphics in the background, solid rhymes and a little bit of dancing. What was missing was his largest hit to date, “Classic Man,” which might have been a purposeful move to get away from the hype and sound of a song that could overshadow his other great material.
Jhene Aiko gave perhaps the best R&B performance of the night, running through cuts like “The Worst,” “Stranger” from her 2011 Sailing Souls mixtape, the sexy and playful “Maniac” and “Post to Be,” which she did in its original form as well as a slowed down version of her part. She also treated fans to a live performance of her new song “While We’re Young,” which the industry might be seriously sleeping on.
DJ Khaled, celebrating the release of perhaps “another one” in regards to a Billboard 200 hit album, did his usual star-studded and high-energy set. He brought out what felt like everyone: Yo Gotti, YG, The Lox, French Montana, 21 Savage, Kent Jones, T Grizzley (who has a song Jay Z recently tweeted was in his opinion the best rap song out), and Bell Biv DeVoe, who emerged with huge applause from the audience. Sporting a lavender sweat suit, the superstar producer ended the night confirming indeed that he was “the one.”