The two had decades of tunes to choose from, and the R&B clash of the titans was full of surprises including a few unexpected guests who showed up to show love on stage, and dance moves that proved the New Jack Swing kings still have it.
Photography by Earl Gibson III
We honestly could’ve kept the party going all night but since we eventually had to log off and let our vocal cords get some rest, we put together a list of our favorite moments from Keith Sweat Verzuz Bobby Brown that you can revisit anytime you please. Scroll down to see which of the club-closers-turned-house-cleaning-staples had us turning out the living room.
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The Original Rules Coming Back
While recent acts have stuck to songs they recorded and performed, the original rules of Verzuz allow contestants to pick any song they were involved with on the front street or behind the scenes. Brown took full advantage by playing the classic New Edition track “Mr. Telephone Man” and Sweat clapped back by pulling out the fruit of his prolific pen.
When Keith Brought Us Back To New Jack City
After the end of “There You Go Telling Me No again” Keith Sweat reminded us of the New Jack City scene that made us unable to shake the song from the classic. “That’s when they started shooting I thought I was gon’ die,” the legend joked.
By the way it’s still Justice for Keisha—forever.
When Bobby Let Us Know He Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
Brown let Sweat know that he approved of his role as the king of getting his girl back by saying “ain’t nothing wrong with begging,” before launching into “Hit Me Off.”
When The New School Paid Homage
Tank and Pleasure P. popped up onstage to show love to the O.G.s. The sentiment of them showing up was sweet, but it was their backup dancer moves that sent the message home.
DJ Cassidy’s Pre-Game
We went straight from the ESSENCE Instagram live pre-show to the main event and were rewarded for our promptness with a set from the legendary DJ Cassidy. One of New York’s original club kids kicked off the event with tracks from Al B Sure!, TLC, and Shanice.
Courtesy of subject
The Nippy Shout-out
Bobby Brown paid tribute to Whitney Houston by playing their hit duet “Something In Common.” The comment feed was overwhelmed by hearts, roses and doves in response to the heartwarming gesture.
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
When Keith Heated Us Up
The heartthrob had us ready to risk it all when he asked us, “How deep is your love?”
The ‘Make It Last’ Intro
Sweat took advantage of Drake’s assertion that he was “the light skinned Keith Sweat,” to intro one of his biggest hits.
From Brown’s sparkly fitted cap to Sweat’s lilac silk jacket the style did not disappoint.