The Essence bash brings together the cream of R&B and hip-hop...

NELLY, Puff Daddy and a whole host of Hip-Hop and R&B stars will converge on NEW ORLEANS in July.

Legendary soul singer Smokey Robinson and hip-hop upstarts Nappy Roots will also be present at the fifth annual Essence Music Festival from July 3 -5.

Nelly and the St Lunatics will headline at the New Orleans Superbowl on July 3, with [/a] headlining the following evening and Seventies soul act Maze and Frank Beverly concluding the festival on the Saturday (5).

Last year [a] and Mary J. Blige played the festival, which attracted around 180,000 people.