The Roots.

Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae Perform At This Year’s Summer Spirit Festival

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Summer Spirit Festival photographed by Zenarfoto for Okayplayer.

The Summer Spirit Festival, a two-day event of awesomeness at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, was an extravaganza that featured headlining performances from Erykah BaduJanelle Monaé and The Roots.

Held each August in the good town of Columbia, rhythm & blues fans are treated to some of the best and brightest performers within the genre. As a living, breathing and ever-changing sound, one isn’t presented with the tunes of yesteryear (think MotownStax and Atlantic Records from the ’60s). Instead, the Summer Spirit Festival serves as an event to showcase artists who either got their start in the ’90s or 2000s bring their newest works live to the stage.

Past acts have included D’AngeloAnthony Hamilton and Lauryn Hill, who only bring the funk, the fire and more to the DMV music loving crowd. As our own Erykah BaduJill Scott, Janelle Monaé and The Roots put on a performance that showcased them inventing new ways of interpreting their classic material, the Summer Spirit Festival proved that it was worth expanding from one day to two.

If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year (or even if you did and simply want to relive the experience), don’t worry we’ve got you covered with a gallery full of photos from the weekend festival.

The post Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae Perform At This Year’s Summer Spirit Festival appeared first on Okayplayer.

The Roots Gun For Ears And Tastebuds w/ New Song “Bittersweet”

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Big Grams, Too $hort + More Turn Out The Roots SXSW Super Jam. Photos by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot/Okayplayer

Back with their first joint(s) since the NBA Playoffs anthem “Champion,” The Roots crew have just delivered a double-sided treat that pleases the ear and tastebud with equal force.

As a one-off (or in this case, a rare two-off) The Roots return today with “Bittersweet,” a pair of mixes for the same track, meant to accompany a crisp glass of Stella Artois, tapping into the science that links oral and audible stimulation. Side A is meant for those with a candied palette, while the alternate side lends itself to those with a proclivity for bite and bitterness. As far as the two mixes are concerned, Side A boasts a smooth and funky touch, while the latter is more of a hat-tip to NOLA’s second line tradition. Less Meters, more Soul Rebels.

And while the release is pegged to a new campaign with the Italian beer giant, it’s always a gooddayinthemorning when new sounds arrive from our beloved Roots. Hear both mixes down below and if you happen to be in the DMV this weekend, catch them live and direct, sharing a stage with Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Janelle Monae and more at the Summer Spirit Festival.

The post The Roots Gun For Ears And Tastebuds w/ New Song “Bittersweet” appeared first on Okayplayer.

Watch Usher & The Roots Perform “Crash” On The Tonight Show

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Watch Usher & The Roots Perform "Crash" On The Tonight Show

By now the world should know with with extreme certainty that Usher and The Roots make for one helluva team. We learned this up close and personal in June when the super-crooner performed an all-hits set with the Illa Fifth at Penn’s Landing, pulling no punches or guest appearances (Lil Jon, tho.) Now as Usher readies the release of his next album Flawed, he’s joined the fellas at The Tonight Show for the performance of his latest single “Crash,” crawling and sensual number that was underscored by a slow-motion routine that will likely have you scratching your head. No release date has been set for Flawed as of yet, but we imagine it won’t be too long before the official roll-out begins.

Watch as Usher and The Roots perform “Crash” in slow-motion on The Tonight Show down below and if you’re looking to catch the r&b star in-the-flesh, join him, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Major Lazer (and us) in Central Park on September 24th at Global Citizen Festival. Purchase your tickets today via Ticketmaster. Jump back to see them perform them perform “Nice & Slow” and “Break You Off” at this year’s Roots Picnic.

The post Watch Usher & The Roots Perform “Crash” On The Tonight Show appeared first on Okayplayer.

Dice Raw’s ‘The Last Jimmy’ Returns To Philly For Democratic Convention

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Dice Raw's 'The Last Jimmy' Returns To Philly For Democratic Convention

Photo by Mel D. Cole for Okayplayer

Dice Raw‘s provocative hip-hop musical The Last Jimmy will return to its birthplace of Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention.

In the musical, Dice Raw portrays Jimmy, the last black man to be incarcerated in America. The production is co-created and written by Phil Brown of Salt World Inc, and inspired by Dr. Michelle Alexander‘s renowned book The New Jim Crow.

The shows will be at the Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Showtimes are July 26 through July 29 at 7 p.m., and July 30 through July 31 at 2 p.m.

Each performance will be followed by a talk back, which is included in the ticket of admission. Confirmed panelists  Dr. James Braxton Peterson, director of Africana Studies at Lehigh University and founder of Hip Hop Scholars; Reverend Dr. Alyn E Waller, pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church; Marissa Bluestine, legal director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project; and Vincent Moto, who was wrongly convicted and exonerated after nine years in prison.

Tickets are $30 for general admission, or $50 for VIP, which guarantees a seat in the first two rows.

To buy a ticket and stay updated on the roster of panelists for each show date, visit the musical’s Eventbrite page.

The post Dice Raw’s ‘The Last Jimmy’ Returns To Philly For Democratic Convention appeared first on Okayplayer.

Watch A$AP Mob Perform “Yamborghini High” w/ The Roots Live on The Tonight Show

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A$AP Mob

Last night, A$AP Mob made their television debut (as a group) as the musical guests on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Live from the trenches and all decked out in camo, the Mob put on a performance of “Yamborghini High” with a little help from The Roots. RIP Yams. You can find this joint on the Mob’s upcoming Cozy Tapes Vol.1 compilation.

The post Watch A$AP Mob Perform “Yamborghini High” w/ The Roots Live on The Tonight Show appeared first on Okayplayer.

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