By

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 →

By

Roots Picnic was bigger and better than ever at Festival Pier

roots picnic
Ibeyi @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

It’s hard to believe another Roots Picnic has come and gone. The feeling is particularly bittersweet this year, in post-Nutter Philadelphia, knowing that The Roots won’t be back next month, as they have for the past eight years, to headline the Welcome America Festival. But the Philly crew-turned-America’s house band certainly made the most of their annual homecoming. Here are some highlights of the day.

Continue reading →

By

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 →

By

Listen to a new track from ADaD that features Black Thought, Yaw, and Khari Lemuel

roots picnic
Black Thought of The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Not too long ago, we shared a new song from Black Thought called “Making A Murderer.” The Philly MC and frontman of The Roots showed up again on our feed, this time spitting a verse on a track by Chicago rapper/producer ADaD. 

The song, “Holdin’ On”, also features Yaw and Khari Lemuel and was produced by Tensei. The smooth jam contains bits of soul, funk, and references Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life.” Continue reading →

By

Watch Roots Picnic artist Anderson .Paak’s TV debut on Colbert

Artwork and Design for @anderson._paak – Malibu LP | Creative Direction by @cory_gomberg

A photo posted by Dewey Bryan Saunders (@deweysaunders) on

Every once in a while you accidentally stumble on late night television performance that blows you away. This was my case last night watching Stephen Colbert’s Late Show last night when Anderson .Paak showed up on the screen.

The California-based R&B singer began with “Silicon Valley”: a jazzy “To Pimp A Butterfly”-influenced track adorned with electric guitars and smooth synths. After transitioning to the funky “The Season/Carry Me”, the performance really exploded once Paak got behind the drum kit to spit some bars and bust out a solo showing how multi-talented he really is. Continue reading →

By

Leon Bridges, Usher, Ibeyi and more to play the 2016 Roots Picnic

Leon Bridges | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Leon Bridges | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Philadelphia heroes The Roots will return to Festival Pier on Penn’s Landing this summer for their ninth annual Roots Picnic, and joining them is their usual eclectic array of artists curated by the man with the ‘fro and the drumsticks, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.

Of course the lineup, reported by Pitchfork and the cast of Broad City (watch the video below), features The Roots themselves in a headlining set, but they’ll be be backing 90s / aughties pop dynamo Usher in a set as well. Other high-profile appearances of note are soul-rock force of nature Leon Bridges, who’s been buzzing in the XPN universe for the better part of a year now (he’s headlining a sold-out show at The Fillmore this winter).

I predict peak cell-service outage will occur during Future‘s set, and there’s appearances from Cheltenham’s Lil’ Dicky in the mix as well, not to mention infectious Oakland singer Kehlani and (wha?) DMX. Continue reading →

By

Watch The Roots and Erykah Badu’s 20-minute hip-hop history lesson from the Roots Picnic

Erykah Badu performing at Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese
Erykah Badu performing at Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese

There were lots of standout performances at this year’s Roots Picnic, which took place at Festival Pier on May 30th. One in particular that is gaining buzz in various corners of the web is Erykah Badu and The Roots‘ 20-minute hip-hop medley. The two music powerhouses teamed up to create a tribute to Grandmaster Flash, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and more, and included their individual songs in the mix as well. Watch the performance below, and read our recap of the Picnic here. Continue reading →

By

Love of My Life: The 8th Annual Roots Picnic celebrates a generation of innovative music

The Roots | Photo by John Vettese
The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Every year, the Roots Picnic inches closer to Philly musical utopia. The pre-summer day fest is curated by local hip-hop heroes The Roots, the self-proclaimed hardest working band in America. True to their own innovative and barrier-breaking approach, the lineup is always a unique, eclectic and interesting trip. The setting and its vibe has historically been a bit rockier, beset by exponentially swelling crowds and typically sweltering heat beating down on the minimally shaded asphalt of Festival Pier.

But the eighth annual installment of the Picnic yesterday, while not perfect, was a tremendously positive event, with major improvements in the layout and organization of the festival and a trimming of the musical fat (for the most part). Continue reading →