No longer the best-kept secret of the formidable Soulquarians collective—which includes such luminaries as Mos Def, Erykah Badu, and D’Angelo—singer/songwriter Bilal has become a neo-soul titan. His debut album, 1st Born Second, features production by Dr. Dre, and he’s collaborated with everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Sun Ra and Talib Kweli. Poised, suave, and prodigiously skilled, Bilal specializes in compelling, jazz-tinged ballads, which never sacrifice nuance to achieve showstopper status.
BAM's Rhythm & Blues Festival
This free outdoor summer concert series features an eclectic roster of legendary trailblazers and emerging musical visionaries of R&B and world music. Past performers have included Maceo Parker, Los Lobos, Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Odetta, Salif Keita, Amadou and Mariam, and The Spinners. These lunchtime performances are held at MetroTech Commons, home to NYU-Poly's Brooklyn campus.Price: Free