Bobby Brown vs. Keith Sweat in Essence Verzuz Battle of R&B Icons: Billboard’s Scorecard & Winner For the Showdown

“This is truly a celebration of two giants of the culture…” DJ Cassidy enthused later in the evening and he couldn’t be more on target. Bobby Brown’s career soared in the mid-‘80s as part of the omnipresent R&B boy band New Edition — and while he ventured out on his own in 1987 with a built-in fanbase, Keith Sweat was finding his place on the Billboard 100 for the first time with hits like “Make It Last Forever” and “I Want Her” from his debut album.

As the lights brightened in the venue, the two sat across from each other, backs straightened against ornate thrones, ready to prove why they’ve

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