Roots Picnic Festival 2017: Lil Wayne Doesn’t Show, But Pharrell & Solange Make a Night
June 4, 2017 - Picnic Time
Let’s get a elephant out of a room: Lil Wayne’s absence, a remarkable cancelation to “unfortunate medical reasons” was felt, yet how could it not be when you’re betrothed a onetime (and still possibly) biggest rapper alive? That’s a outrageous hole in a 10th anniversary of Philadelphia’s annual Roots Picnic festival that local hip-hop heroes, The Roots, were celebrating Saturday (June 3). And it put poignant vigour on some of a new jacks benefaction to broach on their hype.
The initial of these was 25-year-old Noname, a Chicago pretender who’s compared with Chance a Rapper given what Chicago pretender isn’t, who rapped her set in an endearingly nonsensical combo of sweatshirt and miniskirt with a three-piece live band. “Anyone know who Mick Jenkins is?” she asked a not-that-Chicago-informed crowd; a intro “This is a ratchet shit” got a bigger response. Her double-dutching around a kick on tunes like “Diddy Bop” and “Yesterday” was befitting to a easily jazzy live instrumentation. And notwithstanding one 2016 writeup that called her a swat homogeneous of Charlie Brown’s Christmas special, her skipping intonation some-more hinted what Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band would be like as a swat album.
Unlike so many other successors, ultra-melodic visitor PNB Rock has mastered Fetty Wap’s dynamite pretence of rolling one Auto-Tuned syllable from one note to another, that creates him a walking hook. Thusly, his throng was a many eager of a midday, presumably for tunes as gummy as “Notice Me” and a hiccuppy, reggae-derived “Selfish,” a set ender he continued to croon with no kick for a few some-more iterations of a carol before walking off.
Presumably due to Wayne-related reshuffling, a Festival Pier South Stage was no longer in sync with a North one, so we didn’t utterly get to find out what Black Thought and J. Period’s “live mixtape” was while watchful 90 mins for 21 Savage to show. Eventually a fest finally got hip to broadcasting other stages on a video screens, so we did get to locate Fat Joe perfoming hits like “Make It Rain” and “All a Way Up” in a brightly colorful sweater and “Lean Back” writer Scott Storch on keys, as good as a Black Thought appendage hymn that went “Hunter S. Thompson / Doing it gonzo” during one point.
The sadistic 21 Savage finally emerged in shades and all white for a many quite and claustrophobically trap set of a day — Jeezy was Mr. Rogers by comparison. No one else during this differently feel-good fest stood out with such provocations as “I put a hundred on your head” and “Pull adult during your mom residence / And put some rounds in it” on nasty, steadfast bangers like “Red Opps,” and a man’s childish appetite kept a tinge some-more black-comic punk than rotely cynical. It helped that his drum levels punched us in a gut.
Meanwhile on a North stage, a Yachty-coiffed Thundercat wailed divided on a six-string drum with several phasing effects, perplexing to keep gait with his pester spinner of a drummer. He sings too, yet we consternation since he bothers. His three-piece alloy combo during times played like a mangled Steve Wonder LP, as a specialist convinced and sang while his fretting digits never staid for stillness. He’s equally sanctified and accursed with a present of his compositions’ consistent transformation yet never staid into many of a strain or even a groove. This Möbius frame act worked improved witnessing his technique firsthand, though, than sitting during home listening to 2017’s Drunk. Someone ought to offshoot him adult with Arto Lindsay, a genuine songwriter who navigates chaos.
The ever-hoarse Jeezy warranted his repute as a TED-talk trapper, in blinding white tee and bandanna relocating a throng off of one aphorism to a next: “Standing Ovation,” “Go Getta,” “Soul Survivor.” True to his schtick, he was skilful as his possess hypeman, rallying his people with a china award “Anyone here went to a black college? Then you’ve been fucking with a Snowman given Day One” and a bullion prize-winner, “Ladies, if your pussy tastes good, make some motherfucking noise.”
But, generally with time-slot opposition Weezy M.I.A., a weight of this festival was on Solange Knowles, Billboard Top 200 Albums chart-topper and leader of mixed 2017 Album of a Year honors whom a whole mountain had swarming a South Stage to witness. One mom in front of me had a one-year-old on her shoulders, as if she’d been privately brought along to watch story in motion. Another enthusiast hold aloft a black, blue and yellow Bahamian flag. The explosion-haired thespian arrived to a pushing of her New Orleans horn players, flanked by dual singer-dancers that spent many of a opening alternately station totally still and synchronized with her any move. They achieved a initial 3 songs on A Seat during a Table only as they seem on a record, despite with a netting-dressed Solange doing discerning bows-cum-head-tosses in time to any horn blat of a intro.
Penn’s Landing was alternately furious and inside when a rimshots of “Cranes in a Sky” popped by a throng noise, and a thespian pennyless adult a obedient tinge during only a right time, with a “Way You Make Me Feel” trifle of 2012’s “Some Things Never Seem to F—ing Work” pardon her adult to burst around her slight yet impactful discography. She did “Mad” but Lil Wayne after all, funked her approach by a uptempo “Locked in Closets,” and done a jump-on-it refrains of “Junie” weigh in genuine time. Her inside closer, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” built to a well-choreographed climax, yet a many iconic impulse of a set was a deeply outreaching “FUBU,” and a ominous, protecting horn honks. Hearing a primarily black and womanlike throng intone “The shit is for us” was only a profoundly relocating and clever impulse in a year when not scarcely adequate Americans mount with them.
Somehow, maybe given her catalog is simply so quiet, even Solange couldn’t contest with a spectacular betrothed and over by a headliners in their tenth year as festival hosts. Billed as Pharrell and a Roots, a aging-averse writer with a lovably stretched falsetto led his backup geniuses by over an hour of hits he done for others, as good as a few returned favors for himself. Daft Punk’s “Lose Yourself to Dance” and Robin Thicke’s barbarous “Blurred Lines” kicked things off unapologetically, before dipping behind for N.E.R.D.’s honeyed 2002 low cut “Run to a Sun” and afterwards a karaoke event like no other.
First, Pharrell sang Clipse’s “Young Boy” and “What Happened to That Boy” with a rope subsidy adult any horn skronk and Birdman trill, before Kim-Jong-of-the-crack-song Pusha T himself seemed for his possess mini-hits set of “Mr. Me Too” and “Grindin’,” and a sizzling, Snoop-free “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” before N.O.R.E. came out for a bloody “Superthug” and “Nothin’,” and done it transparent this was some kind of accession for a Neptune-turned-superstar, purgation to his buddy: “You’re a best writer of all time, we can’t trust that we fell onto you. we adore you, your wife, your triplets, you’ve got super sperm.”
That led to N.E.R.D.’s “Rock Star” and “Provider,” a latter propitious with a small solo time for a saxophonist, and a warp-speed miscellany of as many famous Pharrell jawns these consultant improvisers could consider of: “Hot in Herre,” “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” a “Pass a Courvoisier” that got everybody jumping, a “LapDance” that sent a mic-less Tyler, a Creator bounding onto a theatre for dancing and nonsensical mugging, and a “She Wants to Move” that devolved into Pharrell on a Latin percussion pack doing drum conflict with Questlove. A discerning spin by smashes we scarcely forgot about, by Gwen Stefani, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Justin Timberlake became a four-sideman drum-machine duel before a triumphant, scarcely climactic “Get Lucky.”
But Pharrell still had a pretence adult his sleeve, introducing a long-lost ‘90s RB contingent SWV to perform dual songs, including “Right Here,” on that a 23-year-old Pharrell done his outspoken attention entrance by rap-spelling out a group’s name, a purpose he reprised final night with glee. Then he introduced a child named Reef to applause onstage during a tangible climax, “Happy,” and not a festival attendee by afterwards felt like a room with a roof.