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Chris Brown, SZA, LL Cool J to headline 2018 BET Experience

Chris Brown, SZA, LL Cool J to headline 2018 BET Experience
Chris Brown performs onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Chris Brown, SZA, LL Cool J and Rae Sremmurd top the bill for the 2018 BET Experience.

The initial lineup for the four-day event was announced by festival organizers on Wednesday.

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Nipsey Hussle, Ludacris, Ne-Yo and Kamaiyah are also among the first wave of talent booked to perform at the summer festival, which is built around the network's annual awards show.

Now in its sixth year, the BET Experience is a weekend of concerts, seminars, celebrity panels and an expo geared toward black music fans. It's set for June 21-24 at multiple venues around L.A. Live.

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Night one opens with LL Cool J featuring DJ Z-Trip, Ludacris and Ne-Yo.

An evening focused on youthful R&B will see sets from Chris Brown, SZA and Ella Mai. Rae Sremmurd, Ferg, Nipsey Hussle, Playboi Carti, Kamaiyah and Wondagurl topline a rap-centric night.

Additional performers for the Staples Center shows will be announced soon, though it's unclear if late-night shows at the Novo (formerly Club Nokia) will return.

In 2012, the network partnered with Anschutz Entertainment Group to transform BET's highly rated awards show into a multi-day event that would serve as an alternative to the long-running and popular Essence Festival in Los Angeles.

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AEG and promoter Goldenvoice — responsible for Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF Fest and Arroyo Seco Weekend — helped curate a bill of R&B, soul and hip-hop artists.

Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly headlined the festival's inaugural outing in 2013. Snoop returned last year to headline, along with Wiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi, Bryson Tiller, ASAP Rocky and Jhené Aiko.

General tickets to Staples Center shows, as well as three-day packages, go on sale April 18 at 10 a.m. PST through axs.com/betexperience.

VIP packages, which include a ticket to the awards show, are currently on sale. Packages range from $1,095 to $4,500.

More information can be found on the festival's website.

For more music news follow me on Twitter:@GerrickKennedy

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