50 Cent, Avant rock the rooftop at Caroline’s in Manhattan

Photo by Stereo Williams for Steed Media Service

On a balmy night in mid-August, R&B stars Avant and Vivian Green — with some help from newcomer Rotimi — reminded an invite-only group of music fans that R&B is definitely still in the building. Presented by G-Unit, Effen Vodka and Capitol Records, Caroline’s rooftop in Manhattan served as the launchpad for a night of music and mingling. Rotimi, who fans can see every week on STARZ’s hit drama “Power,” took the stage early in the evening.

The young, burgeoning superstar performed a few choice cuts for the crowd, including “She Got That Fire” and the banger “Lotto,” which also brought out G-Unit’s head honcho himself. 50 Cent took the stage to perform alongside his young protégé and Power co-star, before complaining about Capitol’s “name being all over everything” at the party and launching into a new cut from his upcoming project, SKI. “I’ve got a lot of ideas and I’ve been doing some different things and been moving around doing Effen activation and in a lot of nightclubs and it’s inspiring me,” 50 said, before announcing his plans for incarcerated rapper and Young Thug associate Rico Richie. “He’s getting outta jail soon and I’mma pick him up. I have a knack for communicating with people that it’s hard to communicate with.”

Things got very grown and sexy when songbird Vivian Green took the stage with her backup singers. The R&B star performed four songs with gusto and charisma, reminding everyone that she’s one of the most underappreciated stars in music. “I am known for writing male-bashing songs,” she said with a wink. “But that’s not who I am–it’s just what I was going through and decided to write about.” She then proceeded to launch into the upbeat, Maze-sampling tune “Get Back To My Baby,” which had the entire crowd swaying and stepping as the sun set against the New York City skyline.

Avant closed the night, advocating for “real music” and pouring through tunes both old and new. His new album, The VIII, drops in September. Tearing through hits like “Separated” and newer snippets of what’s to come, the R&B veteran emphasized less songs about “booty shaking” and more about real emotion as the night wound down.

Fans of great R&B have a lot to look forward to from both vets and newcomers. Despite reports to the contrary, the genre is in good hands.

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