Since this collection of live performances from the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans is presented by the Music World label and executive produced by company head Mathew Knowles, it's no surprise that it features Knowles' daughters, the superstar Beyoncé ("Single Ladies") and the developing artist Solange ("T.O.N.Y."). Those singers represent contemporary R&B and hip-hop, but the featured performers also include some vintage names from R&B's past dating back a couple of decades, and the mixture of current and veteran artists suggests a continuity in the music's history. Thus, a current rapper like Kanye West ("Good Life") is followed by an old-school one like LL Cool J ("Doin' It"), and the stars also include Tina Marie (who declares, "Let's go back to 1984!" to introduce "Lovergirl") and Janet Jackson ("Love Will Never Do [Without You]"). It's appropriate that the closer is Mary J. Blige ("Be Without You"), who may be a current artist, but also possesses a soulful voice and traditional approach that could come from almost any point in the history of R&B. The performances sometimes fade out rather than climax, and the sound quality can be rudimentary at times, but the album presents a good cross-section of a broad swath of R&B music featuring some of its most prominent practitioners.