Every year, eternal rap treasures the Roots bring a whole lot of musical acts to their Philadelphia hometown. Usually, the lineup of the group’s Roots Picnic festival is a fascinating pile-up: Young rap insurgents, aging rap legends, random indie rockers. But now the Roots have announced the lineup for this year’s festival, and it’ll be heavy on young rap insurgents and absent of random indie rockers, and the Roots themselves will be the aging rap legends. Also: Lots of podcasts!
This year, the show goes down 6/1, and it moves from Festival Pier to the Mann at Fairmont Park. And our headliners will be the Roots themselves, who will be performing their 1999 masterpiece Things Fall Apart, celebrating that album’s 20th anniversary. Things Fall Apart was a guest-heavy album, and it’ll be cool to see how many of the Roots’ old friends show up to recreate their parts from that LP: Talib Kweli? Erykah Badu? Common? DJ Jazzy Jeff? Eve? Beanie Sigel? You already know you want to be there in Philadelphia if Beanie Sigel comes out to to his “Adrenaline” verse. He used to shotgun in cars! Now he’s drivin’ ‘em!
We already know that Things Fall Apart guest Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) will be on the premises, since he’s on the bill, too. Black Thought and J. Period are doing another Live Mixtape thing, and Yasiin Bey is the one announced guest. And ’90s soul legend Raphel Saadiq is doing a Raphael Saadiq Vs. The Soulquarians thing, so expect a whole lot of neo-soul connectivity.
If you don’t really care about ’90s rap, you should be ashamed of yourself, but you can also have a good time at Roots Picnic if you can get around the idea of lots of old people like me scowling at you. The bill features surging R&B stars H.E.R. and Queen Naija, as well as Afrobeat heavyweight Davido. And there are a whole lot of rappers who are still on the ascent: 21 Savage, Lil Baby, City Girls, Blueface, Tobe Nwigwe. And live podcasts — Joe Budden, the Read, Roots bandleader Questlove himself — get shockingly high placement on the bill. I have a hard time imagining attending a live podcast taping at a music festival, but, I mean, knock yourself out. You can find more details on the festival here.