The Roots.

Big Grams, Too $hort + More Turn Out The Roots SXSW Super Jam [Exclusive Photos]

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Photos by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot and Okayplayer

Too $hort, Naughty By Nature, Emily King, Ashanti, Talib Kweli & More Join The Roots SXSW Super Jam.

Now that the smoke has now settled upon the 30th edition of SXSW we can officially say it was a historic one. Even the President and his First Lady came down to Austin, Texas to get down, not to mention the usual rock stars and regular humans from all walks of life. On Saturday (March 19), Okayplayer was on-hand to witness the end of an era with Illmore, NaS debuted a new cut produced by Madlib and J Dilla and–maybe biggest of all–The Roots kicked off the first annual super SXSW jam session featuring the legendary plus special guests.

Upon first viewing, the line just to get in was massive, as some just felt it better to stay outside rather than trying to catch the show. For the ones lucky enough to cross the threshold into the rare space occupied by some of the music industry’s best and brightest, The Roots had a host of musical surprises to keep booties grooving and the night full of excitement. No matter who you thought you were, you were going to be energized throughout the event.

There were to be no posers in this batch of attendees.

Witnessing Emily King live and in living color was a sight for sore eyes, as the talented crooner joined Black Thought and Questlove in a funky rendition of The Jacksons‘ “Shake Your Body.” With the funk levels raised way past ten, The Roots punctuated King’s joyous and lithe vocal flourishes with staccato’d punches. Amongst the crowd, you could spot people having a grand ole’ time, as even actor/director Michael Rapaport was caught vibing on the side of the stage.

Eventually, that brand of Gary, Indiana funk gave way to the Yay Area, as Too $hort came out to run through his collection of hits. A bass heavy version of “Blow The Whistle” literally shook the walls down to its foundation. Later on, comedian Hannibal Buress showed up to deliver three minutes of drunken comedy on stage as a lull to the musical action. “Hey Bud Light, where’s the Budweiser?” Hannibal said to laughs from the audience. “How about some diversity in here?”

The crowd enjoyed Big Boi and Phantogram–collectively known as Big Grams–as they performed a re-worked version of OutKast‘s “Ms. Jackson” and songs off their collaborative project. After one of the South’s preeminent MC’s left the stage, Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli graced the stage to perform a song or two. Everyone by this moment was thoroughly invested and was elated with each new introduction and song performance. As Yo Gotti came through to, of course, perform his 2016 hit, “Down In The DM,” it was the barrage of medleys from Illtown’s own, Naughty by Nature, that drew the fervor from the crowd.

Treach, Kay Gee and Vinnie were in the midst of celebrating their 25th anniversary, and looked really good and spry hopping on stage.

Arguably, the biggest highlight from The Roots’ SXSW Super Jam was the appearance of former Murder Inc. songstress Ashanti, who fronted alongside Illadelph’s finest like a veteran champion. With the majority of her hits being sung by the masses, Ashanti dropped a couple of new songs that showcased powered by her voice, beauty and charm.

All in all, The Roots’ Super Jam at SXSW was a massive hit and with it becoming an annual event, we’re looking forward to seeing more and more as the years go on.

The post Big Grams, Too $hort + More Turn Out The Roots SXSW Super Jam [Exclusive Photos] appeared first on Okayplayer.

The OKP Guide To SXSW 2016: A Day-By-Day Itinerary

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West Coast Native & Breakout Star Anderson .Paak Joins A Diverse Lineup For NPR Music's SXSW 2016 Showcase In Austin On March 16th.

Despite all efforts to dethrone and disparage SXSW as the year’s most highly touted meeting of musical minds, the party goes on in Austin and Southby looks bigger than ever in 2016. Still, too often the city’s week-long transplants are subjected to the near-impossible schedule requirements of a death race-style obstacle course through North Texas’ most progressive city. So instead of relying on the Tx-sized ambition of a complete itinerary, we’ve sorted through the chaos to bring you an expertly curated SXSW experience that won’t force you to sacrifice any of your favorite acts while still leaving you with memorable stories to take home and share with the crew come Sunday–instead of an undifferentiated blur.

With everyone from KING to NxWorries to Kaytranada to the mighty Roots crew (!) and well, well beyond all scheduled to take part in the mayhem — yes, even the treacherous DOOMSTARKS are slated for an appearance —  there are plenty of tough choices to make, but we promise, after a thorough perusal of the pages that follow, all will be clear. And your experience will be one that allows you to return in good conscience and even look forward to a hypothetical SXSW 2017. So without further ado, here’s a day-by-day guide to all of the fun to be had under the sun. The highest grade of weed, whiskey, suntan lotion and timeliness are recommended for optimal results. And remember: if you’re on-time, you’re late. If you’re late, it’s over. Go find someone famous to bless that air with and plot on the next stage to hit!

The post The OKP Guide To SXSW 2016: A Day-By-Day Itinerary appeared first on Okayplayer.

Jimmy Fallon & The Roots Nail 90s Nostalgia w/ The Tonight Show’s “TGIF” Theme

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Jimmy Fallon & The Roots Do 90s Nostalgia Properly With The Tonight Show's TGIF Theme Song, Written & Performed By Jesse Frederick Of 'Full House,' 'Family Matters,' Etc.

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots absolutely nailed their attempt at 90s nostalgia with The Tonight Show‘s “TGIF” theme, written and performed by Jesse Frederick – the man behind the opening themes for Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step. A timely decision with the recent success of Fuller House, The Tonight Show‘s rework of their opening credits is full of pastels, throwback duds, zany characters and even more ridiculous antics. Check out the footage below to watch the TGIF theme. Get more on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon via

The post Jimmy Fallon & The Roots Nail 90s Nostalgia w/ The Tonight Show’s “TGIF” Theme appeared first on Okayplayer.

Relive The Magic of The 10th Annual Roots Jam Sessions in LA With Our Highlight Video!

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George Clinton, Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr. & More Rock Night 3 Of The Roots Jam Session 2016 In L.A.
George Clinton and Bilal, photo by Vickey Ford for Okayplayer + Sneakshot

2016 marked the 10th year of Roots Jam Sessions , the super-exclusive musical fiesta that touches down in Hollywood smack in the middle of awards season (The Grammys, The Oscars, etc.) that magical time of year when star talent converges on LA and “The Roots and Special Guests” means almost anything could happen–the only guarantee is that it will represent the best of the best in the world of music. Sponsored by Beats By Dre, Serato, and Martell Cognac the sessions were held in Hollywood at an intimate venue that has a capacity of just about 200 persons. For three consecutive nights, guests were treated to earcandy from a plethora of their favs and ours. You’ve gotten a play by play and recap of some of our breakout performances so far, (Alessia Cara’s “Here”; Moses Sumney‘s “Say Yes”; Tori Kelly‘s “Butterflies”; Andra Day‘s Kendrick Lamar cover and last but certainly not least funky Lenny Kravitz reprising his monster hit “Are You Gonna Go My Way” in an extended Roots-assisted live version). Of course, we couldn’t cut a breakout video for every damn performance but there were just too many gems to leave in the OKP video vault, so…you all are in for a treat.

We’ve got a FULL highlight video, narrated by Questlove himself, of all the performers over the course of three days including…(drum roll, please): Gary Clark Jr., Tori Kelly, Bilal, Tinashe, Jeremih, Andra Day, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Lianne La Havas, Leon Bridges, Alessia Cara, J Angel, Kehlani, Bibi Bourelly, Nelly, George Clinton, Lil Dicky, Yuna, Freddie Gibbs, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jazmine Sullivan, Tish Hyman, and, of course, the legendary Roots Crew. It all seemed like a dream, to think that all of these artists graced the stage in one venue, in one long weekend. The vibe was so electric, with the crowd kept on their toes between sets. “Who will be next?” we kept asking ourselves, and with each new guest, the surprise turned into excitement, and then pure energy that exuded from set to set.

Watch our full Highlights video of the Roots Jam Session 2016 below, brought to you by the super talented OKP TV team. Until next year!

The post Relive The Magic of The 10th Annual Roots Jam Sessions in LA With Our Highlight Video! appeared first on Okayplayer.

Watch Lenny Kravitz Perform “Are You Gonna Go My Way” Live At Roots Jam Sessions 2016

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George Clinton, Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr. & More Rock Night 3 Of The Roots Jam Session 2016 In L.A.
Lenny Kravitz live with The Roots, photo by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot + Okayplayer

Lenny Kravitz joined The Roots at the 10th annual Roots Jam Sessions in LA to close out the series with a performance of “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”

As if the line-up of heavy-hitting performers wasn’t enough, The Roots Jam Sessions 2016 closed out on a high note with the passionate rock & roll sounds of Lenny Kravitz. The man of many talents took a small break from designing furniture to rock out with The Roots for a rare performance on the third and final night of the Jam Sessions. He performed three songs, blessing the crowd at this intimate Hollywood venue with the same amount of energy and vigor you would expect at an arena show.

Draped in head-to-toe black leather, paired with a forest green silk top, gold chains, and his signature aviator shades, Lenny electrified the room with his set, including all time jams “Fly Away” and “Let Love Rule.” It was with quite possibly his most famous song to date, the 1993 release “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” that he truly brought down the house. Backed by both his band and The Roots, they performed an extended version of the song, getting the crowd fully involved, and dare I say catching the spirit a little bit. We sang along to every word, and it was quite undeniable that we were witnessing something very special.

Watch Lenny Kravitz perform “Are You Gonna Go My Way” at the Roots Jam Sessions below, and look out for our full recap video of the 10th Annual Roots Jam Sessions!

The post Watch Lenny Kravitz Perform “Are You Gonna Go My Way” Live At Roots Jam Sessions 2016 appeared first on Okayplayer.

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