The genre of hip-hop was in full effect during the last night of the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture. The legendary Roots Crew had an exciting performance that featured some of the greatest artists of all time on one stage.
Black Thought, Questlove, and the rest of The Roots opened the show up with a stellar display of musicianship, with the band rocking out while Black Thought showcased his unique style of lyricism. A few minutes into the set, he introduced Method Man, who performed 1994’s “Bring the Pain,” from his first studio album Tical. From there, he brought out his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah for their classic, “C.R.E.A.M.”
After The Roots rocked out to “Proceed” and “The Next Movement,” Ashanti hit the stage to a roaring crowd. Sporting some dark sunshades, she sang “What’s Luv,” “Happy,” and “Rock Wit U,” before transitioning into Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.” In keeping with the odes to the past, the New York-born singer went into her smash hit “Foolish” before zoning out to the Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance.”
The theme of 90’s hip-hop continued, as Method Man then came back out to perform his Grammy Award-winning “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By,” followed by “Method Man,” and Ghostface Killah’s “Cherchez La Ghost.”
Bad Boy Records was such a large part of the success of hip-hop, and The Roots made sure that was represented as well. They introduced The Lox, who began their set with “Knock Yourself Out” from Jadakiss, “Good Times” by Styles P., then their collaborative “We Gon’ Make It.” After Kiss rapped his “Who Shot Ya” freestyle, Lil’ Kim graced the stage for “All About the Benjamins,” which also featured a standout verse from Sheek Louch.
The iconic Lil’ Kim sang the chorus to “Money, Power, Respect,” before going into “Put Your Lighters Up.” One of the evening’s highlights was when the beat for “Quiet Storm” dropped, and the Brooklyn native rapped her verse while going into her infamous dance routine. The Roots closed out the set and thanked the audience for allowing them to be in the music industry for as long as they have.
Sunday’s medley served the perfect dose of 90s hits to any hip-hop enthusiast. The 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture provided a mixture of all genres, further proving why it is arguably the best festival in the country. Make sure you don’t miss it next year!