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The Roots, Public Enemy Take Over Philly for Pier Picnic

If we had to give the 2nd Annual Roots picnic a theme, we’d simply say: Music unites the masses. Unarguably the best hip-hop band ever, The Roots, who scored a gig jamming for Jimmy Fallon Monday-Friday, packed approximately 7,000 music lovers and an awesome assortment of talent into the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing on Saturday.

The legendary Roots crew kicked off the all-day affair with an afternoon performance before passing the microphone off to an array of acts on the main stage and in the tent. Electropop singer/rapper Santigold; garage rockers the Black Keys; Brooklyn, NY, indie band TV on the Radio; Cleveland-bred rapper Kid Cudi, New York-based Afrobeat band Antibalas and Morrisville, PA suburban ‘I Love College’ and marijuana rapper Asher Roth were all part of the multi-genre fun, but the biggest moment belonged to Public Enemy (no description needed).

2nd Annual Roots Picnic

    Public Enemy performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Public Enemy performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    ?uestlove of the Roots performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Kid Cudi performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Asher Roth performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Asher Roth performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Santogold performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    Santogold performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    TV On The Radio performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

    TV On The Radio performing at the Roots Picnic at Festival Pier in Philadelphia on June 6, 2009

    Scott Weiner, Retna

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Chuck D and Flavor Flav took the stage and ran through their hits — and non hits — from ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.’ Backed by the Roots and Antibalas, PE put the crowd in a time machine and took them back more than 20 years as they rocked through ‘Terminator X to the Edge of Panic,’ ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ and, of course, crowd favs ‘Don’t Believe The Hype,’ ‘Bring the Noise’ and ‘Fight the Power.’

While, for many, PE’s performance was enough to make you pack up your blanket and head home, the night was still young. TV on the Radio followed the legendary rap act on the main stage while Roth, in flip flops and a Larry Bird Celtics jersey with Philly taped over Boston, commanded the tent.

The Roots wrapped up the evening with a set that included a small percentage of their own songs, and a slew of covers, including incredibly hip renditions of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love,’ Muddy Waters’ ‘I’m A Man,’ Guns N’ Roses ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’ and George Thorogood’s ‘Bad To The Bone.’

Crowd concensus: See you next year!!!

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