The Lovers & Friends Festival descended upon Las Vegas this weekend, delivering an unforgettable day of throwback rap and R&B performances straight from the 2000s. This highly anticipated event, curated by none other than the legendary Usher, paid homage to the classics while also showcasing some of the biggest names in the industry. From Usher himself to Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Missy Elliott, Pitbull, Miguel, Christina Aguilera, and many more, the lineup was stacked with talent that left the crowd in awe.
The festival kicked off with palpable energy as the crowd eagerly awaited the first acts. Names like Da Brat, Yung Joc, and Dem Franchize Boyz, set the tone for the day with electrifying and nostalgic performances. It was clear that this event was not just another festival; it was a rap and R&B fan’s dream.
Jhene Aiko, known for her soulful and introspective music, delivered one of the standout sets of the entire day. Her enchanting vocals and captivating stage presence drew the crowd in, creating an intimate and emotional atmosphere. To make her performance even more special, Aiko was joined by her boyfriend and baby daddy, rapper Big Sean. After their performance, Big Sean delivered a heartfelt speech, reminding fans that this was Aiko’s first show since giving birth to their child in November 2022. It was a beautiful moment that resonated with everyone in attendance.
Chris Brown, known for his incredible stage presence, took the spotlight and mesmerized the crowd. During his set, he brought out Tyga, much to the delight of fans, to perform their hit collaboration “Loyal.” The energy was through the roof as the duo commanded the stage, delivering an explosive performance that had the entire crowd singing along.
50 Cent, a true rap icon, showcased why he remains a force to be reckoned with. Giving fans a taste of what they could expect on his upcoming headlining tour. 50 took the audience on a journey through his illustrious career. Beyond the large collection of number-one hits, another highlight of his set was a special guest appearance by rising star Bia, who brought the house down with her track “Whole Lotta Money.”
As expected, Usher’s setlist was a journey through his iconic discography, but the surprise appearance by Summer Walker truly elevated the experience. The chemistry between Usher and Summer was undeniable, leaving the audience buzzing with excitement. You can tell that Usher not only puts his heart and soul into his performance but the festival as well, as it is arguably the best-curated lineup of the entire year.
Following Usher’s memorable performance, Christina Aguilera put on a set that was hard to follow by Missy and Mariah. The “Genie In A Bottle” pop star’s set was full of guests, including Redman for their track “Dirrty” and Lil Kim for their epic collab “Lady Marmalade.” The set was full of fireworks, pyro, and hits from the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
And then came the moment everyone had been waiting for, the headlining performance by the incomparable Missy Elliott. The anticipation was palpable as the crowd erupted excitedly, despite a half-hour delay. Missy took the stage by storm, delivering an awe-inspiring performance filled with her greatest hits. From “One Minute Man” to “Lose Control” and “Work It,” she left no stone unturned, showcasing why she is a true icon in the music industry. Adding to the magnitude of the moment, Missy Elliott had recently been announced as part of the new class for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, becoming the first female rapper to achieve such an honor. It was a great moment that elevated her performance to new heights.
Fans already can’t wait for Lovers & Friends to hopefully return in 2024, but in the meantime, you can check out our favorite images from Lovers & Friends 2023 below.
Article written by Shawn Grant #TheSource