R & B music often seems as if it is going through an identity crisis. Some have suggested that the music genre has died because of a lack of record sales and overt sexual themes that are prevalent in today’s R&B music. However, R&B music never died, it’s just currently reinventing itself in other forms.
on June 24, the generational differences in R&B music was on full display as Usher and Bryson Tiller served as headlining acts at the BET Experience which took place at the Staples Center. Usher represents classic sound of R&B that moved Generation X, while Bryson Tiller represents the Trap Soul sound that is currently building steam within the millennial generation.
Bryson Tiller performed songs from his platinum debut, Trapsoul. Songs such as “Exchange,” “Sorry Not Sorry,” and “Don’t” were crowd favorites and proved that Tiller has what it takes to lead the evolution of R&B.
Usher hit the stage next and cemented his legendary status. He opened with “OMG” before going into “Caught Up” and paying homage to James Brown as his band played a brief snippet of “Sexmachine.” Usher went into “U Don’t Have to Call” before introducing Snoop Dogg who performed “Beautiful,” “Drop it Like it’s Hot,” and “Next Episode.”
With the instrumental to Bob Marley’s “Jammin,” playing, Usher gave fans a new twist on his hit, “Love in This Club.” He also performed “Nice & Slow,” and “Got it Bad,” before paying tribute Prince with “Until the End of Time.”
Usher offered more surprises by introducing West Coast rap legend Ice Cube who performed his classic hit, “Today Was a Good Day,” and Young Thug who assisted on “No Limit.”
After two hours of performing hits non-stop, Usher closed his set with the 2004 song, “Yeah.” By the night’s end, it was evident that Usher was willing to past the R&B torch to Tiller, but he still reigns as a leading voice for both generations.