Legend Award honoree Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds wasn't about to sit idle in the Soul Train Awards audience as artists serenaded him in tribute. Babyface manned the piano as countless megastars hit the stage to sing either their timeless hits written by him or classics by other artists written by him.
Things kicked off with '90s R&B hitmaker Tevin Campbell crooning his (still dope) 1993 hit "Can We Talk," followed by Brandy (who never ages) singing her 1995 hit "Sittin' Up in My Room" off the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. Next up was vocal powerhouse Fantasia singing Whitney Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" off the same soundtrack, then sanging a rousing rendition of Karyn White's "Superwoman," bringing the entire audience to their feet. R&B vet Bobby Brown made a brief, surprise appearance singing his 1988 hit "Roni" along with Babyface. Boyz II Men then took the stage with a showstopping medley of their inescapable hits "I'll Make Love to You" and "End Of The Road." FYI: Wanya, Shawn and Nathan can still sing their faces off!
Babyface himself closed out the epic tribute with his 1989 trademark solo hit, "Whip Appeal," reminding everyone watching exactly why he is a living legend. We just wish Toni Braxton (who Babyface helped breakout in the early '90s) had been up on that stage for this tribute, too.
I was a bit confused and perturbed when the 2015 Soul Train Awards nominations were announced earlier this year and my boo Jazmine Sullivan was nowhere to be found. Her 2015 album Reality Show was critically acclaimed and was a fan-favorite record in the R&B world this year. Hell, Jazmine's been a fan-fave since she hit the scene in 2008.
Thankfully they invited the incomparable Ms. Sullivan to perform on the show (and lucky for them she accepted, despite the nominations snub). Jazmine belted out her soulful, sexy "Let It Burn" and then joined '90s R&B group After 7 (whose members include honoree Babyface's brothers) to sing their 1990 hit "Ready or Not," which Sullivan's "...Burn" samples.
When Jazmine's soaring vocals harmonized with the guys of After 7, I knew this was going to be one of my favorite moments of the night.
Switching things up a bit this year, the Soul Train Awards put their own soulful spin on BET's successful Hip Hop Awards cyphers, and the result was everything. The Soul Cypher was an unexpected mix of R&B/soul styles, genders and generations. The cypher featured show host Erykah Badu spinning on the turntable, the bluesy runs of Chrisette Michele, the jazzy scats and velvety lower register of Lalah Hathaway, the iconic gruff of Jodeci's K-Ci Hailey, and the timeless, soulful confidence of Eddie Levert.
I'm so sad there is no video online (yet?) of Queen Jill Scott's flawless performance at the 2015 Soul Train Awards. After accepting the annual Lady of Soul Award, Jill Scott serenaded the crowd with the touching ballad "Back Together" off her 2015 hit album Woman.
Jilly from Philly couldn't leave it at that, and ran through a bunch of the classics that made her a household name and an undisputed queen of soul. From "Whatever" to "Cross My Mind" to "A Long Walk" to "Golden," Jill had the entire auditorium dancing and singing every word at the top of their lungs.
We wish the full video of Tyrese's jaw-dropping performance at last night's Soul Train Awards was available online, but for now take a peek at the clip above. Tyrese belted out his latest hit, "Shame," and proved why he's still one of our favorite male vocalists in the game today.
The only way this performance could've been better is if Jennifer Hudson, who sings background vocals on the studio version of Tyrese's single, had been on stage belting it out right along with him.