Bless your day with this performance of “It Ain’t Fair” by The Roots, Bilal and a freaking orchestra

Black Thought at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Jimmy Fallon is lucky to have The Roots as his house band for The Tonight Show. Pretty much every night he gets to hear the Philly legends, and for Monday’s episode, though, it was a little more amazing than usual.

The Roots had the musical performance to play out the night’s show. Their longtime collab partner and soulful wizard Bilal joined them with vocals of his own, as well as a sizeable orchestra, for a rendition of “It Ain’t Fair,” a song from the soundtrack of the new movie Detroit. I already wanted to see the movie. Now I absolutely have to. Continue reading →


Driftwood Soldier talks religion, the roots of rock n’ roll and Porchfest on 25 O’Clock

driftwood solder
Driftwood Soldier | photo by Kyle Cassidy | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia gutter folk duo Driftwood Soldier joins Dan Drago on his latest episode of the 25 O’Clock Podcast. In addition to their latest EP, Blessings and Blasphemy, bandmates Owen Lyman-Schmidt and Bobby Szafranski are co-organizers of West Philly Porchfest, and they discuss both things over the course of an hour and 20 minutes. Continue reading →


Watch Paul McCartney, The Roots, Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Sing do “Wonderful Christmastime” a cappella

via Consequence of Sound

Nobody slays a Brady Bunch checkerboard singalong like The Roots and Jimmy Fallon, and last night their guest was the great Sir Paul McCartney.

Macca joined The Tonight Show team, along with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, and Tori Kelly — the cast of the animated comedy Sing, who appeared in both their human and cartoon versions, to sing Macca’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

Watch it below and get in the festive spirit. Continue reading →


XPN MusicNotes: Watch Phil Collins jam with The Roots, hear Lady Gaga sing Carpool Karaoke, read about Neil Young’s new album

Phil Collins and Questlove | photo via NME

It was a cool old-meets-new mashup on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night as Phil Collins hooked up with The Roots for a rendition of the classic 80’s hit “In the Air Tonight.” Check it out below, and pay attention to Questlove’s take on the song’s iconic drumming. Continue reading →


Why are Ode to Omni and Mic Stew covering The Roots at World Cafe Live?

Ode to Omni
Ode to Omni | photo courtesy of the artist

Boundary-pushing Philly nine-piece ensemble Ode to Omni blurs the lines between rock, funk, big band brass and soul, and next week the crew pays tribute to one of its very similar-minded Philly influences: The Roots. The band sets up shop at World Cafe Live on Friday, July 29th for their new Homegrown Series paying tribute to Black Thought, Questlove and crew. They’ll be joined by locally-rooted MC Mic Stew, who’s in town from Texas for the show. I swapped emails with Ode to Omni drummer Marcus Myers to get a vibe on the show, the series and what it is that they love about The Roots. Continue reading →


Watch Lil Uzi Vert climb from the Roots Picnic stage to a rooftop to the XXL Freshmen Cover

Lil Uzi Vert at Roots Picnic 2016 | via Okayplayer

Lil Uzi Vert is a name that’s been on the lips of hip-hop prognosticators for the past year and change. His rabid fans and the hype they create has led to more than a few “next big thing” proclamations, and one look at his performance from Roots Picnic shows you just why. The 21-year-old, who hails from the Francisville section of Philly, was in the midst of his song “WDYW” – a hammering rager with a clubby beat – when he decided to take shit, literally, to the next level.

The account of it by Okayplayer’s Elijah C. Watson is particularly vivid. Continue reading →


Usher and The Roots pay tribute to Prince at Roots Picnic

The Roots x Usher @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle
The Roots x Usher @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

Ever since we lost Prince in mid-April, outpourings of adoration and tributes for the purple one have cropped up everywhere. From countless artists covering the songs that defined his career (and a generation) to mother nature herself shining a purple sunset following his passing, Prince is an artist that truly transcends his mortal being and lives on in every life he and his music touched.

What better place to pay homage to Prince than this year’s joyously soulful Roots Picnic, where his influence was surely felt — particularly during Usher and The Roots headlining set. Continue reading →


Five artists playing the Roots Picnic you shouldn’t miss

roots picnic
Ibeyi | photo courtesy of the artist

The annual Roots Picnic is the unofficial start of summer here in Philadelphia, a Saturday spent along the Delaware River listening to a line-up of eclectic music handpicked by the legendary crew. This year’s picnic, next Saturday, June 4th, boasts a seriously great bill of acts, including Future, Usher, Leon Bridges, Blood Orange, Willow Smith, and Gogo Morrow. But we want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, so check out five other artists you definitely do not want to miss.

Continue reading →