The Roots kicked off their annual series of Roots Jam Sessions, a series of live events gearing up towards the Grammys which happen at the end of this week, and it all launched last night in L.A. with comedian Neal Brennan, Will.I.Am, Bilal and much more. If this intimate bashment of live music and comedy was any indication, Grammys 2015 will be a night to remember and trust Okayplayer was there in force to record the proceedings for posterity; the OKP TV team captured video, Mel D. Cole took photos and Questlove rapped! OKP’s own Gingerlynn witnessed the whole thing firsthand:
Neal Brennan was on fire with jokes about Bill Cosby, mixed race kids as our hope for a non-racist future…and something about titties and Bill Clinton. Bilal stunned–as always, but especially last night; “Dear God” made me cry. Goapele was a crowd pleaser, repping the Bay looking gorgeous (check Okayplayer on Instagram for a setlist).
Emerging pop artist Sevyn Streeter was cool with her r&b-flavored sleeper hit “I Won’t Stop” and Jeremy Ellis destroyed the stage with his bass-driven beats. The house was in awe–even will.i.am was impressed. The real highlights were a 15-minute organic blow out Roots-only jam that emerged out of “Jungle Boogie,” with Questlove rapping for 7-8 minutes straight, partly freestyling (what???) then rhyming Dice Raw‘s ENTIRE verse off Do You Want More?!!!??!‘s “The Lesson, Pt. 1.” Insanity. Tarik couldn’t keep a straight face. This was when the “true heads” were separated from the industry crowd. The finale was a dream I’ve had and spoken about for a while (I’m sure others wished for this moment too!) – the Roots with will.i.am, bringing the Black Peas back to their, well, Roots with “Joints & Jam.” Magic. Really amazing synergy on stage; took us straight back to ’98 and they were all truly enjoying themselves, which was the best part. We’ve got it all on video! (watch our re-cap below, and stay tuned for a full vid of “Joints and Jam” and Questo rapping!)) Big up to Jesse Boykins III who was in the house, production by the legendary Tina Farris!
Watch below and enjoy Mel D. Cole’s pics above. Please share with tags #RootsJam15 and #beatsxtheroots…and stay tuned for more coming your way over the next three days of Roots Jam Sessions leading up to the big weekend of Grammys 2015.
Lance Steagall + Jake Remington
Editor: Jake Remington
Producer: Ginny Suss