As we count down to the ESSENCE Festival, taking place June 30-July 3 in New Orleans, music critic Chuck Arnold will get you pumped with a mix of tunes from this year’s artist lineup.
On this breezy groove from 2005’s Be, Common got some help from Kanye West and John Mayer. Still, it’s all about Common’s smooth flow.
Kendrick Lamar, “Swimming Pools” (Drank)
This haunting vibeout from from K-Dot’s good kid, m.A.A.d city debut never fails to intoxicate.
Mariah Carey, “Always Be My Baby”
We just want to swing over a lake and reminisce about the boo who got away when this 1996 No. 1 hit comes on. No way we’re ever gonna shake MC.
Faith Evans, “Soon as I Get Home”
When it doesn’t even matter who’s wrong or who’s right and you just gotta do what you gottta do. We feel you, Faith.
From his 1996 debut, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, this lush loveliness is the ultimate break-up-to-make-up song.
Leon Bridges, “River”
The soul-deep closer from Bridges’ Coming Home debut gives us old-time gospel feels. Take us to church, Leon.
Estelle, “All That Matters”
The British diva gives us classic Dionne Warwick elegance on this piano-ballad beauty from 2015’s True Romance.
The Gap Band, “Outstanding”
Technically, it’s Charlie Wilson on the ESSENCE Fest lineup. But is there any doubt that this 1982 classic belongs to Uncle Charlie? It still blows our mind every time.