In addition to organizing this year’s 8th Annual Roots Picnic, in July the Philadelphia collective will also release a music project in conjunction with the Broadway play “Hamilton.” The special set is expected to feature interpretations of the production’s original recordings reworked by Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, John Legend and Alicia Keys among others.
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Big K.R.I.T Makes a racial Fashion Statement

We all know Rapper, Big K.R.I.T is big for his statements that he makes in his raps.

K.R.I.T performs with The Roots and Raphael Saadiq when he performs his song “Soul Food” on the “Tonight’s Show” starring Jimmy Fallon.

His T-Shirt makes a big statement on his feelings on race , presenting a powerful statement saying “across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why ?”

This T-shirt also resembles the jumpsuit Andre 3000 wore wight the same words.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t love Jimmy Fallon any more

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Pure Imagination: The World According to @questlove

To see more of Questlove’s music adventures, follow @questlove on Instagram. For more stories from around the music community, follow @music on Instagram.

“It was literally like a Willy Wonka dream.”

Roots drummer and Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon bandleader Questlove (@questlove) is once again geeking out about food –– specifically the trip he took to The Cooking Lab near Seattle a day earlier, where he learned about the intricacies of science-based gastronomy.

“I never thought of myself as a science nerd,” he admits. “I am now more into science than I am into actual music.”

Questlove, born Ahmir Khalib Thompson, is most definitely a food lover (see: @questlovesfood, where he documents the otherworldly meals he eats). He’s also a guest professor, a world traveler, a producer and an actor. But science over music? If that’s the truth then it hasn’t affected his output. He currently performs with his band five nights a week alongside Fallon, has a DJ residency at a venue in Brooklyn, plays in concerts around the world and still finds time to record albums, both for the Roots and for his friends.

His musical origin story begins in 1974. It’s Christmas, the smooth crooning of Donny Hathaway is on the stereo and a three-year-old Ahmir can’t sleep. So he makes his way downstairs to find a treasure trove of unwrapped instruments –– there’s a Mickey Mouse guitar, a xylophone and a Ringo Starr replica toy drum set sitting in the living room. Guess which one he runs to first.

If that moment was about discovering his superpowers, then receiving his first adult set, four years later, was about harnessing them. Questlove’s family grew up middle class. His dad, Lee Andrews, was a singer in a doo-wop band, along with the soul group Congress Alley, which his mother Jacqueline Thompson was also apart of. But because his parents sent him to a private performing arts school, sacrifices had to be made. Things got serious during Christmas of 1978, when there wasn’t enough dough to buy a tree. Quest went to sleep figuring there’d be no gifts the following day.

“10 o’clock, I woke up,” he recalls, more than 30 years later. “I opened my eyes and I walked downst…,‘Oh my god, what the hell?!’ It was a frickin’ John Bonham blue-and-silver Vistalite [starts counting quietly] 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… Seven-piece drum set!”

The set initially belonged to his father’s drummer, Herman. But Herman had gone AWOL and never came back for it, thus leaving it in the hands of the burgeoning musical prodigy. Getting those drums was one of the greatest days of Questlove’s life.

“I won’t ever be surprised like that again,” he says. “I guess the second best thing for me to do is to create that moment for a lot of people. I once made my mom think that she was watering DJ Jazzy Jeff’s plants at his house. ‘You’re in there mom? You’re good? Well, that’s your new house. Congratul… Hello? You there?’”

Questlove’s new form of giving back is by taking his friends’ kids record shopping. He’ll spend $1,000 to $3,000 a trip, picking up full catalogs –– the Beatles and Led Zeppelin –– snagging the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.. The only artist he avoids is one of his favorites: Prince. “I just feel weird giving an eight-year-old Dirty Mind.”

But most of Questlove’s time is spent at his 9-5 gig, on The Tonight Show set. The Roots have been with host Jimmy Fallon since 2009, when he was still on Late Night. While the band continues to produce great work both on and off television, the last year has been a difficult one. They recently lost their long-time manager, Rich Nichols, to leukemia, and are now faced with a frightening uncertainty: a crew without a key leader.

“The strange thing is, Tariq [aka Black Thought, the group’s emcee and co-founder] is in the backseat, I am in the passenger seat, and there’s no one in the driver’s seat,” says Questlove. “And we’re collectively looking at each other like, well, OK, I will move over, you come up here and we’ll figure this out.”

The loss of Rich hasn’t stopped the Roots from working, though. They are currently churning away on their 13th album. Though the record won’t be the band’s last, it may be the final one that’s in line with a “typical” record release. The industry has been shifting for years–– something new is on the horizon and Questlove is prepared to embrace it.

“This album will get us to song 200, and I am fine with possibly entertaining the idea of closing the chapter. Although I know we’re going to make more and more music, I just don’t know if we will make physical albums.”

Whatever the non-physical album they make is, producing it won’t be easy. Having spent the last 14 years working on Black Messiah, the critically acclaimed magnum opus of his friend, the singer D’Angelo, Questlove is ready to put himself through hell.

“A lot of the people making [Black Messiah,] were driven to the edge of their lives and never thinking that they were going to get out of it,” he says. “It was observing that, I realized that I might have to do that to myself as well.”

Does driving to the edge mean a digital-only release? A RZA-inspired, only-one-listener-will-hear-this type record? If it takes the decade-and-a-half that Black Messiah did, perhaps it will just be made out of food.

–– Instagram @music