EARLY WORD: The Roots Of The Matter


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PREVIOUSLY: Like France, the picnic remains proof positive that, despite wild-eyed Tea Party protests to the contrary, rootspicnic_TVOTR.jpgsocialism actually can work. Everyone brings something, we all share, and everyone lives relatively happily ever after — sometimes anyway. Such was the case at Saturday’s third annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Senegal’s horn-y, percussion-heavy Baja and the Dry Eye Crew brought the world beats. Face-painted, ukulele-strumming one-gal-band TuneYards brought the weirdness. New Orleans rapper Jay Electronica brought the conspiracy theories (specifically the damning federal indictment of “Candyman”).  Detroit’s Mayer Hawthorne, who looks like Buddy Holly and sings like Smoky Robinson, brought the neo-Motown confections. The Clipse brought the thuggy street cred. DJ Jazzy Jeff brought the turntablist party favors. John Legend brought the socially-conscious soul. Wu-Tang alums Method man, Raekwon and Ghostface The Killah brought the legacy. The Roots brought the meat and the fire and Vampire Weekend brought the delicious indie-rock cake for dessert. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: When it comes to The Roots — currently in-residence as the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and arguably the greatest live act on the planet — you must always expect the unexpected. So it should come as no surprise that The_Roots_Picnic_1.jpgSaturday’s second annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier in Philadelphia was a 12-hour all-you-can-eat-and-then-some feast of wonderful WTF-ness. What other band would kick off their own multi-genre lollapalooza — featuring the likes of Public Enemy, TV On The Radio, The Black Keys, Santigold, Kid Cudi and Asher Rother — with an impromptu improv with guest MCs Jordan Knight and Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids On The Block (who just happened to be performing later that night across the river at the Susquehanna Center in Camden)? Who else would dare back up Chuck D. and Flava Flav for a beginning-to-end live rendition of Public Enemy’s 1988 landmark album It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back? Who else would book the Black Keys’ sludgy biker-blues choogle in between Ohio player Kid Cudi’s uber-catchy indie-rap and Santigold’s retro-pop readymades from the Ray Ban-ed dawn of MTV? Small wonder we saw so many ?UEST FOR PREZ T-shirts in the crowd. MORE

This year’s schedule after the jump…


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