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Cardi B, Gunna, Sexyy Red & Davido Light Up L.A. for 2024 BET Experience Concert Series

After a four year hiatus, the BET Experience Concert Series returned June 28 at Crypto.com Arena.

By Carl Lamarre

Carl Lamarre

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Cardi B at BET Experience 2024

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Sexxy raced through her newest project, In Sexxy We Trust, ripping through B-sides like “Fake Jammin” and “Boss Me Up.” Her performance peaked when she captivated the crowd during a four-song stretch of “Rich Baby Daddy,” “Skee Yee,” “Get It Sexyy,” and her breakout record “Pound Town.” Littered with catchy ad-libs and eye-popping twerks, Sexxy’s performance proves why she’s one of the hottest female rappers today.

It was Davido’s turn shortly after, and his mission was clear: Take everyone to The Motherland. The Afrobeats superstar shifted the raucous energy with a jazzy live band and his crew of break dancers. The triumphant production was the catalyst in bringing Davido’s set to life as he skated through his biggest hits like “If,” “Fall,” “Risky,” and “Unavailable.” He also veered into some of his features, most notably Chris Brown’s “Sensational,” which added more flare to his high-octane set.

As he commanded the crowd, Gunna leaned on his cheat code to seal the deal. “Drip Too Hard,” “Pushin P,” and the YSL heater “Hot” sans Young Thug perked everyone’s ears and revved up Gunna as he pressed the right buttons during those prime moments. To punctuate his performance, Gunna wrapped things up with his newly-minted classic, “fukumean,” before setting the stage for the night’s final performer, Cardi B.

Appearing at nearly midnight, Cardi brought a laundry bag of hits and humor to the L.A. crowd. Donning a custom-made football jersey emblazoned with the No. 11, the Bronx bombshell used Friday night’s performance to show us what a potential Cardi Tour would like. The “Cardi Party” was fun. Her signature wit and grit shined through as she sprinted with avidity through her 2018 opus, Invasion of Privacy . Though the project remains her lone gold star on the album front, it still holds, as proven by the roars on songs like “Get Up 10” and “Bartier Cardi.”

Though Cardi’s headlining set was under 40 minutes, she applied pressure once she wrangled in her features. Arguably one of the best feature artists of all time, Cardi went inside a time chamber and revisited verses from G-Eazy’s “No Limit,” Blueface’s “Thotiana,” GloRilla’s “Tomorrow 2” and more. And when Cardi wasn’t enjoying her hellacious features run, she ran up the scoreboard with her solo hits with “I Like It,” “Up,” and the steamy “WAP,” which found her spilling water on herself. Though she joked about being winded and needing a quick breather, she pushed through and stamped her New York swagger on the West Coast by closing out her set with “Bodak Yellow.”

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Kendrick Lamar made hip-hop history by using his Juneteenth show as a victory lap against Drake and an attempt to unite the West Coast

  • Kendrick Lamar performed his first show since his beef with Drake on Wednesday. 
  • Lamar performed most of his diss tracks aimed at Drake, including "Not Like Us" five times.
  • But fans say the event attended by major hip-hop figures and LA gang members was more than a victory lap from Lamar. 

Insider Today

Kendrick Lamar cemented his win in his rap beef with Drake at an LA show on Wednesday where he performed a diss track five times, surrounded by rap legends.

But the Juneteenth concert wasn't just a victory lap, with fans viewing it as an iconic moment in hip-hop history and an important attempt to unite the fractured West Coast .

The sold-out, one-off show, "The Pop Out: Ken & Friends" — which was streamed live on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch — was Lamar's hotly anticipated first performance since his beef with Drake unfolded earlier this year.

After the pair released a series of back-to-back diss tracks in April and May, Lamar was viewed as the winner after "Not Like Us" topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts for one week in May and has been in the top 10 ever since. Drake's response, "The Heart Part 6" wasn't enough to beat Lamar.

When both artists went quiet, fans were left wondering what would happen next.

Lamar didn't disappoint with "The Pop Out," where he performed four of his five Drake diss tracks, opening with "Euphoria." Later came his diss verses on "6:16" and "Like That," and he ended the night with "Not Like Us," featuring an intro from West Coast hip-hop legend Dr Dre , who joined him on stage.

Lamar then performed "Not Like Us" four more times alongside numerous West Coast rappers, athletes, dancers, and members from multiple Los Angeles gangs. At the end, they took a group photo together.

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Fans said the concert was the equivalent of Lamar getting the West Coast to dance on Drake's grave, and proof that the hip-hop community supports him.

Kendrick doing this on the heels of killin Drake knowing the whole world would tune into him doing a victory lap on his grave, just to have the first hour be local rappers and Tommy the Clown and his next generation of dancers for 20 minutes is fucking hilarious and AMAZING — Big Boss 🇵🇸 (@LordBalvin) June 20, 2024
Drake really pissed KDot off so bad he formed the Rap Coalition of Hate, they did a dance circle on his grave, and took a family photo like 😘✌🏽 pic.twitter.com/elcJmQMok4 — Riana Manuel-Peña 💜 (@RianaTweetsNow) June 20, 2024
DEMAR DEROZAN WESTBROOK KENDRICK YG MISCELLANEOUS GANG MEMBERS KENDRICK GOT THE WHOLE WEST COAST ON STAGE DANCING ON DRAKE GRAVE BRUH LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WHAT THE FUCK pic.twitter.com/f0Yh1qWjTf — Big Boss 🇵🇸 (@LordBalvin) June 20, 2024

But they also appreciated the cultural significance of the show, with one X user describing it as " one of the most historic nights in hip-hop history ."

While fans have focused a lot on the unsubstantiated allegations of sexual assault, pedophilia, and domestic abuse in the pair's diss tracks, the battle was truly about authenticity.

In "Not Like Us," Lamar calls Drake, who is Canadian, a "colonizer" of rap culture, claiming he stole his persona from artists like Future , Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Young Thug, Quavo, and 2Chainz.

In "Family Matters" and "Push Ups," Drake calls Lamar, who raps about race and societal issues , a fake activist and says his hometown, Compton, California, doesn't support him.

Lamar challenged that idea by showcasing up-and-coming West Coast rappers and performing with major Californian hip-hop stars including Tyler The Creator, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, and Dr. Dre, while the crowd was filled with stars including LeBron James .

Lamar didn't just bring all of these artists together to mock Drake, though, but to unite the West Coast.

"For all of us to be on this stage together, unity, from East side mother-fucking LA, Crips, Bloods, Pirus, this shit is special, man. We put this shit together just for ya'll," Lamar said in between the "Not Like Us" encores, referring to rival gang members onstage.

"This shit ain't got nothing to do with no song at this point, ain't got nothing to do with no back and forth records, it's got everything to do with this moment right here. That's what this shit was about, to bring all of us to-mother-fucking-gether," he added.

Lamar also paid tribute to late rapper Nipsey Hussle , former NBA star Kobe Bryant , and Californians who have lost their lives to violence.

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After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration

Dr. Dre introduces “Not Like Us” at Kendrick Lamar’s Juneteenth “Pop Out” concert. Lamar closed the three-hour show by performing the chart-topping Drake diss multiple times for a Forum crowd that included The Weeknd and LeBron James.

Image

FILE - Kendrick Lamar performs at Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, April 16, 2017, in Indio, Calif. Kendrick Lamar turned his Juneteenth “Pop Out” concert into a celebration of Los Angeles unity. The 37-year-old rapper curated a three-hour livestreamed concert featuring a mix of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars including Dr. Dre and Tyler, The Creator. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Not content with merely taking a victory lap after winning his battle against fellow rap superstar Drake, Kendrick Lamar turned his Juneteenth “Pop Out” concert at the Forum into a cathartic livestreamed celebration of Los Angeles unity.

Lamar curated a three-hour concert featuring a mix of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars including Tyler, The Creator, Steve Lacy and YG. When it was his turn to take the stage, the 37-year-old rapper powered through a set with Black Hippy collaborators Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, performed his Drake diss songs “Euphoria” and “6:16 in LA,” then was joined on-stage by Dr. Dre.

The two West Coast titans performed “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love” and Dre called Lamar “one of the greatest that ever did it” before quieting the roaring crowd by requesting a moment of silence. It was a misdirect. He then delivered the “Sixth Sense” quote that opens Lamar’s chart-topping “Not Like Us” : “I see dead people.”

A crowd of 17,000 that included The Weeknd, LeBron James, Ayo Edebiri and Rick Ross rapped along to every word of the biting-but-jubilant DJ Mustard production, which Lamar restarted twice after the first verse and performed four times in full.

Image

Shuffling, frolicking, dancing and spinning around him as Lamar strode the stage in a red hoodie: NBA stars Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, Mustard, rapper Roddy Ricch and even a teenage dance troupe led by the krumping innovator Tommy the Clown.

Lamar reveled in the moment: “Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody disrespect the West Coast. Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody imitate our legends, huh,” he said, referring to Drake’s use of an AI tool to mimic 2Pac’s voice on one of his diss records. He also added a line to “Euphoria” referencing Drake’s purchase of 2Pac’s jewelry: “Give me 2Pac ring back and I might give you a little respect.”

But the Compton native had more on his mind, calling out to specific men and women to join him on-stage for a group photo.

“Let the world see this,” he said. “You ain’t seen this many sections on one stage keeping it together and having peace. ... For all of us to be on this stage together, unity, from East side ... LA, Crips, Bloods, Piru — this ... is special, man. We put this ... together just for ya’ll.

“This ... ain’t got nothing to do with no song at this point, ain’t got nothing to do with no back and forth records, it’s got everything to do with this moment right here. That’s what this ... was about, to bring all of us together.”

After the final song, Lamar exited, saying “I promise you this won’t be the last of us.” The stabbing horns of the “Not Like Us” instrumental kicked in once again and the crowd rapped the lyrics without Lamar as they filed through hallways out to the parking lot. The Twitch and Prime Video livestream concluded.

The feud that that energized hip-hop fans over the last few months had long been a sort of cold war, with coded, subtle and deniable insults woven into some of the two rappers’ biggest hits over the past decade, from “Energy” to “All The Stars,” “Gyalchester” to “HUMBLE.” It began after Lamar’s attention-grabbing verse on Big Sean’s 2013 “Control,” in which he laid out his ambition to beat out Drake and other top rappers. The Canadian actor-turned-rapper, who as the bigger star had hand-picked Lamar to join his second headlining tour a year earlier, felt personally insulted.

The two then took widely divergent paths as their careers flourished on parallel paths. Drake shares images of his wealth and jokey memes online, collaborates regularly with up-and-coming artists and integrates bubbling musical trends in hip-hop and the broader pop world to pump out club-ready singles at a consistent pace. Lamar often disappears from the public eye for years at a time to build deeply introspective concept albums featuring few voices other than his own — while maintaining a minimal social media presence.

Drake’s taste-making ability mostly kept him on top of the rap world, with an approach that matched the direction of pop music as a whole. But as his hit-making consistency diminished, an opening emerged. Lamar, Future and Metro Boomin kicked off their direct assault on Toronto’s king in March with “Like That.”

Lamar made his disdain clear: He sees Drake as a talented outsider who enjoys and profits from hip-hop culture but didn’t grow up in it, code-switching his way into the mainstream without a core identity or authenticity. His nail-in-the-coffin final verse on “Not Like Us” sums up his view: “You run to Atlanta when you need a few dollars / No, you not a colleague, you a ... colonizer.”

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'GMA' 2024 Summer Concert Series lineup: Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Green Day and more

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NEW YORK -- Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Green Day and Nicky Jam are among the chart-topping artists performing live in Central Park for the 2024 "GMA" Summer Concert Series.

This year's lineup, brought to you by "GMA" sponsor Wayfair, features the hottest names in music who will deliver live performances from New York City's Central Park or the "GMA" studio in the heart of Times Square.

G-Eazy, Sofi Tukker, Megan Moroney and Old Dominion are among the artists who will be performing live from Times Square.

"GMA" invites guests to attend the live broadcast from Central Park as part of the live audience; however, performances taking place in Times Square studios will not have live audiences. Please make sure to RSVP to join the audience in Central Park.

Request tickets for "GMA" performance starting at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. Check back for more information.

Stay tuned for updates, and check out the 2024 schedule below:

Kane Brown: July 19

Tickets for Kane Brown in Central Park will be available at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. Check back for more information.

Green Day: July 26

Tickets for Green Day in Central Park will be available at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. Check back for more information.

Tre Cool, from left, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt of Green Day arrive at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, April 1, 2024, in Los Angeles.

Carrie Underwood: August 2

Tickets for Carrie Underwood in Central Park will be available at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. Check back for more information.

Carrie Underwood performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York.

Nicky Jam: August 9

Tickets for Nicky Jam in Central Park will be available at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. Check back for more information.

G-Eazy: August 16

G-Eazy will perform live in our Times Square Studio.

SOFI TUKKER: August 23

Sofi Tukker will bring the party to perform live in our Times Square Studio.

Megan Moroney: August 30

Megan Moroney performs live in our Times Square Studio.

Old Dominion: September 6

Old Dominion closes out the Summer Concert Series by performing live in Times Square.

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Usher, Victoria Monét and SZA’s ‘Snooze’ Win Big at ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards

By Steven J. Horowitz

Steven J. Horowitz

Senior Music Writer

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 27: Voice of the Culture Award winner Usher speaks onstage during the ASCAP R&S Music Celebration at The London Hotel on June 27, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for ASCAP)

Usher , Victoria Monét and SZA ‘s “Snooze” received top honors at the 2024 ASCAP Top Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, which took place last night in Los Angeles.

Leon Thomas, who co-wrote “Snooze” and has worked with Ariana Grande and Drake, received the ASCAP R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap Song of the Year award for his contribution to the hit. SZA, who released her record-breaking sophomore album “SOS” in late 2022, secured massive success with “Snooze,” which spent an unprecedented 30 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, and was the only song to spend all of 2023 on the Hot 100.

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The event also celebrated gospel music, with ASCAP’s Gospel Song of the Year honor going to Cece Winans for “Goodness of God.” Additional songwriters acknowledged at the event include 21 Savage, Coco Jones, Lil Uzi Vert, Summer Walker and more.

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After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration

Kendrick Lamar.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Not content with merely taking a victory lap after winning his battle against fellow rap superstar Drake, Kendrick Lamar turned his Juneteenth “Pop Out” concert at the Forum into a cathartic livestreamed celebration of Los Angeles unity.

Lamar curated a three-hour concert featuring a mix of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars including Tyler, The Creator, Steve Lacy and YG. When it was his turn to take the stage, the 37-year-old rapper powered through a set with Black Hippy collaborators Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, performed his Drake diss songs “Euphoria” and “6:16 in LA,” then was joined on-stage by Dr. Dre.

The two West Coast titans performed “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love” before Dre quieted the roaring crowd by calling for a moment of silence. It was a misdirect. He then delivered the “Sixth Sense” quote that opens Lamar’s chart-topping “Not Like Us”: “I see dead people.”

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A crowd of 17,000 that included The Weeknd, LeBron James, Ayo Edebiri and Rick Ross rapped along to every word of the biting-but-jubilant DJ Mustard production, which Lamar restarted twice after the first verse and performed four times in full.

Shuffling, frolicking, dancing and spinning around him as Lamar strode the stage in a red hoodie: NBA stars Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, Mustard, rapper Roddy Ricch and even a teenage dance troupe led by the krumping innovator Tommy the Clown.

Lamar reveled in the moment: “Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody disrespect the West Coast. Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody imitate our legends, huh,” he said, referring to Drake’s use of an AI tool to mimic 2Pac’s voice on one of his diss records.

But Lamar had more on his mind, calling out to specific men and women to join him on-stage for a group photo.

“Let the world see this,” he said. “For all of us to be on this stage together, unity, from East side ... LA, Crips, Bloods, Piru — this ... is special, man. We put this ... together just for ya’ll.

“This ... ain’t got nothing to do with no song at this point, ain’t got nothing to do with no back and forth records, it’s got everything to do with this moment right here. That’s what this ... was about, to bring all of us together.”

After the final song, Lamar exited, saying “I promise you this won’t be the last of us.” The stabbing horns of the “Not Like Us” instrumental kicked in once again and the crowd rapped the lyrics without Lamar as they filed through hallways out to the parking lot.

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Moscow concert hall attack suspects appear in court as Russia defends security services

T he four men suspected of carrying out a brutal attack at a Moscow concert hall that killed at least 139 people have appeared in court on terror charges, as the Kremlin defended its security services criticized for failing to prevent the massacre.

Three of the suspects were bent double as they were marched into the Moscow courtroom late on Sunday night, while the fourth was in a wheelchair and appeared unresponsive.

The suspects, who are from the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan but worked in Russia on temporary or expired visas, were named by Moscow City Court as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni and Mukhammadsobir Faizov. They face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

They are accused of storming Crocus City Hall in a Moscow suburb on Friday, shooting civilians at point blank before setting the building on fire, causing the roof to collapse while concert-goers were still inside.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre and released graphic footage showing the incident – but Moscow has insinuated, without evidence, that the perpetrators planned to flee to Ukraine. Kyiv has vehemently denied involvement and called the Kremlin’s claims “absurd.”

At a meeting with other government officials on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin conceded the attack had been carried out by “radical Islamists,” but still tried to pin ultimate responsibility on Ukraine.

“We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists, whose ideology the Islamic world itself has been fighting for centuries,” Putin said, but added that the attack “is a link in a series of attempts of those who have been fighting Russia since 2014 with the hands of the neo-Nazi Kyiv regime.”

The first suspect charged, Mirzoyev, had a black eye, bruises over his face and a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Mirzoyev, 32, had a temporary resident permit for three months in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, but it had expired, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported.

Rachabalizoda, born in 1994, told the court through an interpreter that he has Russian registration documents but could not remember where they are. He appeared in court with a swollen eye and a bandaged ear.

The third defendant, Fariduni, born in 1998, was employed at a factory in the industrial city of Podolsk and registered in Krasnogorsk, both near Moscow.

The three men pleaded guilty to the terrorism charges, Russian media reported. It was unclear what the fourth man, Faizov, born in 2004, pled. He was pictured lying limp in a wheelchair inside a glass cage.

The men looked beaten and injured as they were brought into the courtroom. Videos and still images that appeared to show some of them being violently interrogated, including one apparent use of electrocution, circulated widely on Russian social media.

One video appears to show Rachabalizoda being held on the ground while having part of his ear cut off and stuffed in his mouth by a camouflage-wearing interpreter.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russian state propaganda network RT, posted a video of Rachabalizoda appearing in court with a heavily bandaged ear, which she wrote made her “feel nothing but pleasure.”

CNN asked the Kremlin about the “visible signs of violence” committed against the suspects, but spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment.

The four have been remanded into pre-trial detention until May 2022, the court said.

Later Monday, Russia’s Investigative Committee asked the court to detain three other men – two brothers and their father – in connection with the attack, Russian state media TASS reported.

On Monday, three days after the attack, rescuers were still searching among the ruins of the collapsed concert hall and trying to clear rubble. Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said more than 300 “specialists” were working at the site.

The attack, the deadliest on Russian soil in almost two decades, was met with outrage and disbelief in Russia, prompting calls for the harshest of punishments to be meted out.

While the concert hall roof was still burning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and shared a video taken by the men as they stormed the building, where thousands of Russians had arrived to watch the rock group Picnic.

CNN has geolocated the 90-second video to the concert hall, where bodies and blood can be seen on the floor as fire rages above. The video also shows one of the attackers slitting the throat of a man lying on his back, and ends with the four attackers walking away inside the building with smoke rising in the distance.

Despite ISIS appearing to provide evidence that its fighters had carried out the attack, Putin and other senior officials have been keen to associate Ukraine with the terror attack.

In a national following the attack – more than 19 hours after it began – Putin on Saturday claimed that a “window” had been prepared for the attackers to escape to Ukraine. He did not provide evidence. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said: “Now we know in which country these bloody bastards planned to hide from persecution – Ukraine.”

Ukraine has vehemently denied any involvement and called the allegations a “planned provocation by the Kremlin to further fuel anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russia society” and further mobilize Russian citizens to participate in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite relations between Washington and Moscow being at historic lows, the United States warned Russia that ISIS militants were planning to stage an attack in the country. The US embassy in Moscow said earlier this month it was “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow,” including concerts.

US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienna Watson said the US had shared this information with Russian authorities under the “duty to warn” policy. The US also warned American citizens to avoid places like theaters and concert halls.

But in a speech Tuesday – just days before the attack – Putin dismissed the American warnings as “provocative,” saying “these actions resemble outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.”

Answering questions from reporters on Monday, Peskov refused to comment on whether Moscow had received warnings from Washington, and defended the “tireless work” of Russia’s security services.

Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian politics and security service the FSB, told CNN he thinks Putin “finds it hard to believe that the Americans, even with gritted teeth, would genuinely provide true intelligence about terrorist threats in the current environment.”

“Because he would have no qualms about issuing a fake intelligence warning in order to meddle with another country’s elections, I believe he may well have thought that in fact that’s what the Americans are doing,” Galeotti said.

A CNN team in Moscow spoke to mourners who had turned out to lay flowers for the victims of Friday’s attack.

Alexander Matveev, 37, told CNN that Russians feel insecure and worried that another attack could take place. He said he found Putin’s suggestion that Ukraine was involved to be plausible.

“He said they were trying to escape to Ukraine. This makes sense. They just found some halfwits who were eager for money,” Matveev said.

CNN’s Tim Lister, Darya Tarasova and Nathan Hodge contributed reporting.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com

Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, a suspect in the shooting attack at the Crocus City Hall concert venue, sits behind a glass wall of an enclosure for defendants at the Basmanny district court in Moscow, March 24, 2024. - Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

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