Every once in a while, music groups emerge and transcend beyond their time. In my era there was B2K (Boys of the New Millennium), the quintessential R&B boys group of the 2000s.
The multi-platinum B2K featured the multi-talented Omarion, Boog, Fizz and Raz-B. They made magic on and off the stage before disbanding abruptly 15 years ago.
Since then, their music has consistently stayed on top of streaming playlists and they remain a hot topic of mainstream conversation on reality television and social media.
With the popularity today of hip hop from the 90’s and 2000’s and nostalgia for R&B’s golden years, the time was right for “The Millennium Tour!” and the reunification B2K.
Last Sunday, Memphis FedExForum was stop number four on the iconic group’s 25-plus city U.S. tour with the era-marking talents of Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Bobby V, Ying Yang Twins and Chingy.
St. Louis rapper Chingy kicked off the show with a 20-minute set that featured him giving hit after hit with no fluff. In addition to “Right Thurr,” Chingy performed favorites such “Holidae In,” “One Call Away,” “Chingy Jackpot” and “Pullin’ Me Back.”
“People have actually been complaining about me going on first because they miss me,” he said. “I tell people to get there early if you want to see me perform.”
Bobby V. wowed the crowd with his infectious energy and crispy vocals while reminding everyone that he’s still got “it” years after famously singing car sirens on Lil Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer.” He performed his most popular songs, including “Pimpin All Over The World,” “Beep,” “Anonymous,” “Tell Me,” and his very first single, “Slow Down.”
Known since his 2004 debut “Southside,” R&B sensation, Lloyd, was up next. It’s been eight years since the singer-songwriter released his last full album “King of Hearts. He delivered silky vocals and steady R&B bops the entire night and that included “Caramel his latest single featuring The City Girls.
The show quickly turned up with the Ying Yang Twins – D-Roc and Kaine, who debuted in 2000 and rose to mainstream popularity in 2003 collaborating with Brittany Spears and Lil Jon. In 2004, their popularity soared with party dance singles “Salt Shaker,” “Wait (The Whisper Song),” “Shake,” “Get Low” and “Badd,” which they performed on this tour.
The set was extremely lively, with the Ying Yang Twins providing the vibes for the very much-needed twerk session. The ladies (twerkers) were already up and ready when Pretty Ricky took the stage.
The Millennium Tour also is a reunion for Pretty Ricky, which split up over 12 years ago. With a configuration of one singer (Pleasure P) and three rappers (Baby Blu, Spectacular, and Slick’em) and an image of handsome, young and sexy, Pretty Ricky first hit the scene in 2005 with “Grind With Me.”
Known for sexy, sensual (borderline raunchy) music and stage shows, Pretty Ricky brought that energy to the Millennium Tour, performing classic hits such “Your Body,” “Grind with Me,” “Juicy,” “Nothing but a Number,” “On the Hotline,” “Push It Baby” and “Love like Honey.”
Aside from B2K and Pretty Ricky, I was most excited about seeing R&B heartthrob Mario, who emerged with a self-titled album in 2002. In 2004, he released his second album, “Turning Point, and had huge success with the song “Let Me Love You”.
Mario’s hit-parade set list featured him performing “Just a Friend,” “Braid My Hair,” “C’Mon,” “Never,” “Crying Out for Me,” How do I Breathe,” “Music for Love,” “Break Up,” “Goes Like That,” and “Care for You.”
B2K offered a stylish and edgy take on the boy-band trend during the group’s short but impactful time together. Taking the FedExForum stage like old times as old friends, they delivered a flavorful performance fit for any B2K fan.
The crowd roared as each member of the group was introduced. Fans got a chance to hear the group’s biggest hits performed live as B2K took them through their two-album discography.
Though there was no live band to back them up, the mixes were tweaked for a live setting with enhanced instrumentation and little modern twists. There was no questioning their collective chemistry. And, as is customary, members also broke away for solo segments.
Things turned up when Boog did it for Lil Saint, an ode to B2K’s 2004 “You Got Served” dance comedy-drama film.
“While admiring their solo successes, the fans have consistently demanded a B2K reunion, and with the determination of an incredibly talented team, that dream is now a reality,” said Omarion.
(For additional tour dates, visit www.ticketmaster.com.)