Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
The Legendary Roots Crew may be everywhere these days, including playing as the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, but the iconic hip-hop band always brings it back to their hometown of Philadelphia.
The Roots are once again taking over Festival Pier in Philly this summer with their signature music festival — the Roots Picnic. That's right. The 7th Annual Roots Picnic was just announced, and we have all of the details for you to start making some plans.
The Roots handpick the entire lineup, and it's always packed with some of the hottest names in music — from hip-hop to indie to R&B and more. The Roots always deliver year after year. You never know what's about to go down at the Picnic. Last year, we got to see history made when legendary hip-hop group Naughty By Nature reunited. And, then there was the random water gun fight with Solange. Or, that time when there was an impromptu dance party with Diplo in the second stage tent when rain tried to stop the Picnic. And, not to mention surprise guests hitting the stage every year. They always have them, and it's always epic.
Want to be there? We've got you. Be on the look out for some ticket giveaways from us on philly360.com. And, if you're headed to Austin for SXSW, we're giving away a pair of tickets and a weekend in Philly for the Roots Picnic. You can find us at Death and Taxes and Visitphilly.com Present East End on Thursday, March 13, at Cheer Up Charlie's. Chill Moody and some other Philly acts will be hitting our stage.
So, who made the cut this year for the lineup?
Snoop Dogg (backed by The Roots)
The War On Drugs
Biz Markie (DJ Set)
Electric Wire Hustle
(More to be announced)
Insider Tip: Grab tickets and book a room. There will be events happening the night before and after the Picnic. Details to come.
Earlier this month, the vision of indie hip-hop artist Chill Moody, his cousin and producer Hank McCoy and R&B singer Beano came to life during the release party for their 12-track album "Who Do You Love … More?". It all went down at living rock 'n' roll museum and international dining destination Hard Rock Café Philadelphia.
The trio pulled out all the stops, from roses to the red carpet, to introduce this latest effort to their growing fan base — most of which dressed in their finest black tie attire to check out the show. Plenty of familiar faces from Philly's elite creative scene were spotted taking a stroll on the red carpet, including GRAMMY-nominated producer Ivan Barias, HOT 107.9 radio personality Laiya St. Clair, blogger Syreeta Martin and fellow rap artist Antwan Davis.
DJ Ricochet, also known as "The Untouchable Technician," kept the crowd moving while eager fans waited to hear their favorite songs from the album. CJ & Evan, Jacqueline Constance and Kid Felix were a few of the invited performers that were enlisted to help warm up the stage before the main event.
Backed by Band for Higher, Chill and Beano took their already legendary stage presence to new heights. They laid it all out on the Hard Rock stage and showed us exactly why you can’t talk about the current state of Philly music without mentioning these two.
The duo performed the album in its entirety and were joined on stage by the occasional guest. From new songs like “LastNightinTown” to old favorites like “What’s for Breakfast,” they kept the crowd rocking through storytelling, and by just having a great time on stage. No doubt the chemistry between these three music masterminds will fuel more dope albums to come.
Of course, Philly 360° is bringing you exclusive footage from the night’s festivities. Take a look at the recap below.
Watch Philly 360°'s exclusive video recap of Who Do You Love... More? with Chill Moody, Beano and Hank McCoy.
Philly MC Chill Moody hosted a carnival-themed concert under his signature brand "nicethings." His indoor carnival and all-female show was called Girls Like nicethings.
And, Chill delivered. He packed Union Transfer full of fun nicethings, like an aerial dancer aka "the nicethings fairy," Iconik drill team, carnival games, a photobooth, carnival food and of course, music.
The show featured Roc Nation’s Bridget Kelly along with performances by Mylah, GoGo Morrow and Brianna Cash. The ladies took over the stage and filled the room with female empowerment.
Watch the video below to check out Girls Like nicethings for yourself.
The Made in Philly concert made it evident that there has definitely been a resurgence of artistry here in Philadelphia. It seems that there has been a calm waiting to see who will be the next big name in music from this area, and this show made it clear that it won’t be long.
I made my way to The Blockley to check out the sizeable lineup put together by DJ Aktive and Earl Chandler LLC.
Alliance was the backing band for the evening, and DJ Aktive played host and also dipped behind the turntables every now and again. DJ R to DA IZZA held it down in between.
There was a wide array of music from hip-hop to R&B to pop, everyone came out and gave everything almost to say, we deserve next! Bamboo caught my attention with his soulful vibe and reminded me of the last booming era in Philly music that birthed Jill Scott, Kindred the Family Soul, and many more. His song “Good Vibrations” had me singing along!
Frenchie gave a high energy performance as she sang and danced her way into the hearts of the audience members who were rocking alongside her. She even did a body popping, hair whipping dance number to Ciara’s “I’m Out” featuring Nicki Minaj.
I was excited to see MPrynt hit the stage and from their intro with the hook from “Holy Grail” they had everyone paying attention. Great harmonies and stage presence, these guys were definitely a crowd favorite. Phoenix gave a sultry performance ending with a super-charged rendition of "1+1" by Beyoncé, and Jade Alston made her first return to the stage after being diagnosed with a heart condition, which prevented her from performing most of the summer.
There were also rapid fire lyrics and hard-hitting production in performances by Ape Gang, R.I.C.H. Club and Asia Sparks, who closed the show and tore the stage down.
Many artists came out just in support including Marsha Ambrosius, Beano, Man-Man, and more. I think it’s safe to say that the performers were saying to this city and everyone else that they deserve a spot on the world’s stage.
Watch the video below.
Here's some never before seen footage from this year's Roots Picnic that was too good for us not to share with you. When we were backstage at the Picnic, our friend Laiya St.Clair of Hot 107.9 ended up getting an exclusive of Marsha Ambrosius interviewing Robert Glasper in our Philly 360° Twenty Grand Lounge.
Watch it here.
Luke James: Beyonce hand-picked him as the opening act for her tour. He was nominated for a GRAMMY before his album came out. And, we've loved catching his shows when he's performed in Philly.
So, when the talented R&B singer and Def Jam artist was in town for the Mrs. Carter World Tour, we were hype to sit down with him for an interview. He stopped through The Lab Philly with Philly's own Moshay LaRen.
See what he has to say about recording with Jazmine Sullivan, his music and of course, Philly. Plus, the singer hit us with a few vocals. Watch the video below.
The Roots’ camp brought us two days packed with events to celebrate Independence Day in Philly. They kicked off the party with “The City”, an all-day music and fashion festival at The Piazza in Northern Liberties, hosted by Hot 107.9 radio personality and Fox 29 Entertainment correspondent Q-Deezy and Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Brandon Pankey.
Many of Philly's up and comers took the stage and showed off why Philly is a city known for its music scene - including Interscope Records’ Cody Wise, Modern Inventors, Bok Nero, headliner GoGo Morrow and more. RCA Records recording artist Sterling Simms even surprised the crowd when he hit the stage for an impromtu performance. See the full breakdown of who performed here.
In between music sets, festival goers were treated to runway shows from Philly Fashion Week designers.
And of course, vendors lined The Piazza to give the crowd a taste of Philly including Kings Rule Together, Jr. Music Exec, Neo Daviso, These Pink Lips, Blues Babe Foundation, Anbrea's and more.
Check out the video below to see how the Philly Fourth of July Jam got kicked off.
Last year, Philly became home to another first, as Philly 360° Creative Ambassaor Maori Karmael Holmes successfully launched the inaugural BlackStar Film Festival. People from around the country gathered in Philly to experience the wonder of black cinema, and Ebony even hailed the event as Philly's own "Black Sundance". #bigwin
Next month, we're hype to announce that BlackStar is returning—bigger and better than before. Philly 360° caught up with Maori for an exclusive interview, just as she and her powerhouse team are putting the finishing touches on this year's festivities. Maori gives us the inside scoop on the festival venues, can't-miss films, and her three favorite black films of all time!
You can checkout our insider interview with Maori below. Also, be sure to visit blackstarfest.org to view the full festival line-up, and purchase tickets online today!
Philly 360°: BlackStar is back for its second year, and was recently hailed as "TheBlack Sundance" by Ebony Magazine. That's amazing! How rewarding is it to create this platform for black cinema here in Philly?
Maori: Creating BlackStar was by accident, but a wondrous accident. Producing it has been amazing for me personally and professionally. I continue to meet and connect with awesome folks in Philadelphia and beyond who care deeply about promoting the work of folks of color.
Philly 360°: Well, Philly is definitely buzzing about this year's festival, and most certainly showed up in mass for last year's festival. What do you love most about presenting BlackStar here in Philly?
Maori: That's exciting to hear that there's a buzz. It feels really good. Philadelphia is the home of so many "firsts" in American history and this idea of independence and a DIY/indie aesthetic is in our bones, so in many ways there is no other place that could house a festival like ours. The ourpouring of support from community partners, sponsors, and audience is tremendous and we feel so much love and gratitude.
I am also really excited about having a niche neighborhood festival primarily in University City. You will be able to walk from City Tap House to Drexel and International House and the Sheraton and back in under 5 minutes. It is really cool to be set up in that way.
Philly 360°: Can you give us the big picture view on this year's festival? How many films are you presenting? And, are there any exciting new programs or events this year?
Maori: We have basically doubled in size. We are presenting 75 films in three venues. We have a screenplay competition with a $2,500 cash prize and we have an awards ceremony and for the first time an awards competition including audience awards. As part of our awards we are honoring the Howard University film program.
Philly 360°: Tell us about the venues for this year's festival - any exciting new places or partnerships?
Maori: International House of Philadelphia is one of the best places to see film in the city. The screen, projection, and audio, as well as their staff are top-notch and amazing to work with. They will continue to be our festival hub. We have an additional site at Drexel University through our new partnership with the Africana Studies Program, as well we are presenting a program at The Barnes Foundation and hosting an opening night reception at City Tap House.
Philly 360°: Okay, I know you and the Blackstar team have curated an amazing line-up of black films this year. If you had to give us a few highlights, or not-to-be-missed movies—what would they be?
Maori: Did I say there were 75 films?!! Some of our highlights are our evening features of course--Tey, Nairobi Halflife, Mother of George, and Question Bridge: Black Males. I am also really excited about the Arts Shorts at The Barnes and our Youth Program.
Philly 360°: The Brother From Another Planet (Re-contextualized) w/ Live Score at Johnny Brenda's sounds like an amazing experience. How did this concept come about? Who are the masterminds behind this genius production? Tell us!
Maori: King and I are friends (and in the same class of Philly 360° Creative Ambassadors). At a dinner party last year we came up with this idea to collaborate for the festival around a loose idea based on Afrofuturism. We wanted to do something at Johnny Brendas, another fantastic venue, and King came up with the remix event and enlisted his collaborators, Marlo Reynolds, Anthony Tidd, Jason Senk, and Damon Bennett.
Philly 360°: Any other special appearances this year? Notable filmmakers? Actors? Actresses?
Maori: We are excited to have lots of filmmakers this year. Notably Omari Hardwick (Things Never Said), Haile Gerima, Bradford Young (Mother of George), Andrew Dosonmu (Mother of George), Dennis Dortch (Black & Sexy TV), Numa Perrier (The Couple), Yolonda Ross (Yelling to the Sky), Tanya Wright (True Blood), Lisa Cortés (Precious), Tariq Trotter, Dorian Missick (Big Words), and Muhammida El Muhajjir (Hip Hop: The New World Order).
Philly 360°: Okay, let's end on a fun note As a filmmaker and Philly's reigning expert on black cinema name your top three black films of all time? The Wiz is a given right?Or, is that just me?
Maori: The Wiz is amazing and phenomenal in so many ways, but for me as a filmmaker, the top three black films that shaped me are--although that list could easily go on to 10 or 20. Eve's Bayou, Daughters of the Dust, and Sankofa.
Guess who has a pair of two-day passes to give away for Jay-Z's Made in America festival? You know we love to hook you up with tickets to the hottest shows happening in Philly. And, we couldn't not do a ticket giveaway for this, right?
So, you want to be at the two-day festival that will be taking over the Parkway on August 31-September 1? We've got you.
Enter for a chance to win a pair of two-day passes here. Contest ends August 21. Click here for the Official Rules.
The contest period had ended.
Saturday, August 31 - Sunday, September 1
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Beyonce, nine inch nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Deadmau5, Phoenix, Calvin Harris, Empire of the Sun, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miguel, Public Enemy, Solange, 2 Chainz, The Gaslight Anthem, A$AP Rocky, Walk the Moon, Nero, Wolfgang Gartner, Porter Robinson, Feed Me, Fitz & The Tantrums, Emeli Sande, Haim, TJR, Alunageorge, Gta, Rudimental, Robert Delong, Schoolboy Q, Ab Soul, Jay Rock, MORD FUSTANG, Jesse Rose, Red Light
And, check out what happened at last year's Made in America festival.
We were pretty excited when The Roots announced this year’s lineup for the annual Fourth of July Jam, but when we heard about the newest guest who would be joining the team, we couldn’t believe it. Get hype Philly!
Questlove and Black Thought were recently in for a surprise when Philly's own Kevin Hart unsuspectingly dropped in on them in their limo with an interesting request.
Watch it here:
Looks like we’ll be seeing the hilarious actor/comedian on the Parkway alongside John Mayer, J. Cole, Grace Potter, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Demi Lovato and The Roots.
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