A little-known fact is that the term “Hot 100” actually refers to the number of degrees it was out on Jones Beach on Saturday. Well, not really – and not that anyone was fazed. Fans from all over the state rolled out of the backseats of cars and onto the shore, still giddy from the long road trips that had carried them there. As the sun warmed up the sand, top artists like Jason Derulo, Lil Wayne, and The Weeknd warmed up day one of Billboard’s massive festival with some sultry R&B and hip-hop.
The suspense building up to Jason Derulo was well rewarded. A true performer, he snapped his body to the beat with rigid precision, feeding off the wild energy of his backup dancers. But on top of his fierce dancing, his vocals coolly caressed every word, especially on hits like “Trumpets,” “Whatcha Say,” and “Ridin’ Solo.” When he shed his shirt for “Talk Dirty,” you knew exactly where all those muscles had come from.
Lil Wayne has been such a big deal for such a long time that it’s surreal to see him in person. As soon as he flashes that grin, though, it feels like you’ve been tight for years. Crouching and leaping like an animal, he slammed all the classics with his colorful dreads cascading around him. The crowd could see he was having a blast, and the feeling was mutual. Right from the start, Lil Wayne had three things to tell us: “1. I believe in God. 2. I would not be here without all of you motherf***ers. 3. I would not be here without all of you motherf***ers!”
As if dropping a curtain, the sky skipped its sunset and went straight to black for The Weeknd’s finale. Centering himself in a labyrinth of red lights, Abel Tesfaye seduced several thousand hands in the air with his casual swagger. Leading the pack in the PBR&B genre (an emerging style defined as hipster R&B), his unique blend was extra enticing on fan favorites like “Love Me Harder,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” and “Often.” By the time The Weeknd sang his last note, the only thing that could have coaxed fans from their seats was the promise of another great festival day tomorrow.
Article: Olivia Isenhart