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The Roots, Mary J. Blige and Ronald Isley Dominate at Hennessy Artistry Finale

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Hip-hop and R&B flooded Wall Street last night (Oct. 14) as The Roots, Q-Tip, D-Nice, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Ronald Isley, Bobby Brown, Mike Posner and Eve commanded the stage for the Hennessy Artistry finale in New York City.

Eve played host for the evening’s festivities, welcoming The Roots crew as they sauntered onto the stage to a smoky purple haze. Black Thought, sporting a beige trench coat, served the Queens representatives in the crowd with lines like “I got you stuck off the realness,” from Mobb Deep‘s ‘Shook Ones Pt. 2,’ all while Questlove tapped the drums. Then Bronx native D-Nice shocked the crowd by moving from his command at the turntables to perform his classic hit ‘Call Me D-Nice’ with the support of the band.

Seconds later, Q-Tip joined the hip-hop kings on stage, appearing as the dapper rhymer in a black ensemble paired with a polished white tie. With Black Thought assisting on the verses, Tip shot out lyrics from ‘Electric Relaxation,’ ‘Sucka Nigga,’ ‘Check The Rhime’ and ‘Bonita Applebaum,’ taking the Hennessy drinkers on a jamming trip through rap history.

To the surprise of Andre Harrell, Naughty By Nature‘s Treach and Vin Rock and Kidz in the Hall‘s Double-O, who all mingled in the crowd, Ronald Isley emerged like the royal highness he was, donning a velveteen blazer and shooting a gold brocaded cane in the air as he crooned through ‘Between the Sheets’ and ‘Footsteps in the Dark.’ “I’m gonna do something everyone of you can do,” Isley said, moving into ‘For The Love of You.’ “But first I wanna say I love each and everyone one of you.”

Before Eve burst out with favorites like ‘Who’s That Girl’ and ‘What Ya’ll Want,’ reminding the crowd Nicki Minaj wasn’t the only female emcee with clout, Mike Posner kicked it up a notch with the electric sounds of ‘Cooler Than Me.’ The Roots followed with the hopeful ‘How I Got Over’ and ‘Thought @ Work.’

A platinum blond bob-wearing Erykah Badu mellowed the atmosphere with her syrupy vocals after she and The Roots exploded with ‘You Got Me.’ With razor sharp gold-winged cuffs decorating her arms, she swayed through ‘Window Seat’ and used an MPC to mastermind a beat while serving up the delightful ‘Bag Lady.’

Bobby Brown, minus the jittering jaw, floored the audience when he made his shocking appearance. Despite his sordid past, the New Jack Swing pioneer caused grown women to scream without shame as he licked his lips and pumped out ‘Every Little Step.’ After slowing it down with ‘Roni,’ Brown, wearing a shirt bearing Bo Jackson’s #34, zipped into ‘My Prerogative.’

Rounding out the night, Mary J. Blige dazzled as Hennessy Artistry’s ever-special guest. Her styled blond ‘do and form-fitting beige dress made her eye candy, but the effervescent vocals she showcased on ‘Be Happy,’ ‘I Love You’ and ‘Real Love’ caused her to be a fitting reminder that with age comes refinement.

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