This weekend at the Essence Festival, LL Cool J performed, and it was like releasing that track with Brad Paisley never even happened. LL was right back to being his legendary hip hop self in New Orleans, as one of the few rappers the event has actually embraced.
He performed his first two hits "Rock the Bells" and "Radio." The interesting thing about this is that the Essence crowd has grown into the generation that grew up on LL, or at least were young adults when he hit the scene. This is going to eventually become somewhat of a hip hop event because time is going to force it to be that way. LL's popularity there proves as much.
Of course, that doesn't mean Charlie Wilson isn't a must-see just like Chaka Khan was last year. There's been a nice old-school, new-school mix at Essence that brings people together from every age demographic. If the mainstage act is a bit dated, there's likely someone in one of the superlounges that are just the right speed.
Props to NOLA for continuously hosting one of the coolest summer events out there.