Big Grams, Too $hort + More Turn Out The Roots SXSW Super Jam [Exclusive Photos]
Photos by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot and Okayplayer
Too $hort, Naughty By Nature, Emily King, Ashanti, Talib Kweli & More Join The Roots SXSW Super Jam.
Now that the smoke has now settled upon the 30th edition of SXSW we can officially say it was a historic one. Even the President and his First Lady came down to Austin, Texas to get down, not to mention the usual rock stars and regular humans from all walks of life. On Saturday (March 19), Okayplayer was on-hand to witness the end of an era with Illmore, NaS debuted a new cut produced by Madlib and J Dilla and–maybe biggest of all–The Roots kicked off the first annual super SXSW jam session featuring the legendary plus special guests.
Upon first viewing, the line just to get in was massive, as some just felt it better to stay outside rather than trying to catch the show. For the ones lucky enough to cross the threshold into the rare space occupied by some of the music industry’s best and brightest, The Roots had a host of musical surprises to keep booties grooving and the night full of excitement. No matter who you thought you were, you were going to be energized throughout the event.
There were to be no posers in this batch of attendees.
Witnessing Emily King live and in living color was a sight for sore eyes, as the talented crooner joined Black Thought and Questlove in a funky rendition of The Jacksons‘ “Shake Your Body.” With the funk levels raised way past ten, The Roots punctuated King’s joyous and lithe vocal flourishes with staccato’d punches. Amongst the crowd, you could spot people having a grand ole’ time, as even actor/director Michael Rapaport was caught vibing on the side of the stage.
Eventually, that brand of Gary, Indiana funk gave way to the Yay Area, as Too $hort came out to run through his collection of hits. A bass heavy version of “Blow The Whistle” literally shook the walls down to its foundation. Later on, comedian Hannibal Buress showed up to deliver three minutes of drunken comedy on stage as a lull to the musical action. “Hey Bud Light, where’s the Budweiser?” Hannibal said to laughs from the audience. “How about some diversity in here?”
The crowd enjoyed Big Boi and Phantogram–collectively known as Big Grams–as they performed a re-worked version of OutKast‘s “Ms. Jackson” and songs off their collaborative project. After one of the South’s preeminent MC’s left the stage, Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli graced the stage to perform a song or two. Everyone by this moment was thoroughly invested and was elated with each new introduction and song performance. As Yo Gotti came through to, of course, perform his 2016 hit, “Down In The DM,” it was the barrage of medleys from Illtown’s own, Naughty by Nature, that drew the fervor from the crowd.
Treach, Kay Gee and Vinnie were in the midst of celebrating their 25th anniversary, and looked really good and spry hopping on stage.
Arguably, the biggest highlight from The Roots’ SXSW Super Jam was the appearance of former Murder Inc. songstress Ashanti, who fronted alongside Illadelph’s finest like a veteran champion. With the majority of her hits being sung by the masses, Ashanti dropped a couple of new songs that showcased powered by her voice, beauty and charm.
All in all, The Roots’ Super Jam at SXSW was a massive hit and with it becoming an annual event, we’re looking forward to seeing more and more as the years go on.