Roots Picnic 2024 in the books: relive the festival's bright spots with Philly legends and up-and-comers - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Once again, another successful Roots Picnic is in the books. The two-day festival took place on the grounds of the Mann Center for a third year after being moved from the now-razed Festival Pier. This year’s picnic featured headlining acts from Jill Scott and Lil Wayne. Other performers included Babyface, Fantasia, Smino, and more. 

On day one, folks began funneling into the park at around 1 P.M. Earlier sets included performances from a few local favorites like N3WYRKLA, Julian King, and OT& Quanny. One crowd favorite included Chioke who graced the Presser stage with a powerful vocal tone and presence that could be likened to Betty Davis’s. Extra kudos to Chioke for gracing the Roots Picnic while pregnant with twins.

Chioke | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

The J.Period Mixtape hosted by Black Thought is always a must-see for all the real Hip-Hop fans. This portion is usually reserved for real spitters; this time, Method Man and Red Man were the mic controllers for this iteration. They performed classics like Method Man’s namesake track and “Da Rockwilder.” Of course, J.Period wouldn’t have been complete without a few hard-as-nails bars from Black Thought. Surprise guest A$AP Ferg came out for a quick performance of his hit “Plain Jane,” and Black Thought joined for a freestyle in replace of the 2nd verse. 

Method Man & Redman | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Later, singer-songwriter and absolute hit maker The Dream opened his set with a performance of “Falsetto,” followed by “Throw It In The Bag,” and “Shawty Is A Ten.”

When Nas hopped on the Fairmount Park Stage, he recounted how his very first show took place in Philly with Roxanne Shante. Nas, who frequents best rapper lists, opened with “Spicy” followed by more classic tracks “New York State Of Mind” and “Ain’t Hard To Tell.”

Nas | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Back at the Presser Stage, pure insanity was unfolding as the STL rapper, Sexyy Red offered up her special brand of ratchet rap. With a giant inflatable “Make America Sexy Again” hat in the corner of the stage, Sexyy sassed her way through her set which included “Rich Baby Daddy” and “Pound Town.” All genders twerked and rapped along in the stands with Sexyy Red’s sing-song flow.

Sexxy Red | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Jill (Scott) from Philly wrapped up the night beautifully with a stunning performance of all her hit songs. Black Thought joined her for “You Got Me,” a song on The Roots’ album Things Fall Apart (1999), written by Jill but sung by Erykah Badu. 

In the late afternoon of day two, Adam Blackstone gave a truly soulful upright bass performance on the Fairmount stage. He was accompanied by Tasha Cobbs Leonard who took folks to church with a performance full of soul claps, stomps, and a beautiful rendition of “Break Every Chain.” Fantasia performed “When I See You” before giving a nod to Tina Turner with a cover of “Proud Mary” that truly would have made Tina proud. 

Adam Blackstone | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Over at the Presser Stage, Wale held it down with “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Ambition.” While folks were gearing up for Cam’ron who turned out to be a no-show, the crowd got an introduction to Kenya Vaun who boasts a feature from Musiq Soulchild on her track “Summer.” In a wonderful turn of events Musiq Soulchild performed “Half Crazy” and “Buddy.” Andre 3000 was next to follow on the Presser Stage where he offered audience members a taste of his debut flute album, New Blue Sun (2023).

At the end of the night, The Roots kicked off a headlining performance with Questlove leading a marching band through the crowd and to the stage. The entire set was a tribute to New Orleans and included performances from Trombone Shorty and PJ Morton. At one point R&B artist Lloyd accompanied Black Thought onstage to perform hits like “Get It Shawty.” Finally, it was time for New Orleans’ own Lil Wayne to hop on stage. He performed songs like “Go DJ,” “Fireman,” “A Milli,” and more. 

Overall, Philly’s favorite festival put on yet another top-notch festival experience that appealed to new and old alike. For more on the local artists who performed at this year’s Roots Picnic, check out special Key Studio Session performances with Chioke, N3WYRKLA, and U + ME + RNB down below.

Chioke - The Key Studio Sessions (Full Set)
N3WYRKLA - The Key Studio Sessions (Full Set)
The Key Studio Sessions: U+ME+RNB
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