The Symphony 2016 ft Kane, G Rap, Royce, Monch, Black Thought, Freeway & More (Video)

This weekend, The Roots hosted their first ever Roots Picnic in New York City. Held in Bryant Park, near Times Square, the two-day affair billed D’Angelo, Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Swizz Beatz, EPMD, John Mayer, David Byrne, The Jungle Brothers and many more. There were also a number of surprise appearances, including Common and Dave Chappelle.

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Although many of the performances were noteworthy, the set for Black Thought’s live mixtape with DJ J. Period, served as one of the weekend’s highlights. The series, which Thought and J have conducted for years, features Tariq Trotter blacking out over whatever beats J serves up. These often include favorites of Thought, and often provide an opportunity for him to bring out the original MCs who performed on the track, after he blesses it.

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At the end of the set, J. Period dropped the beat of DJ Marley Marl’s “The Symphony,” with its instantly recognizable piano chords, and out walks Philadelphia Freeway to set it off. Immediately following him is Detroit’s own Royce 5’9″. Next up, is Pharoahe Monch, who is followed by Boot Camp Clik’s Smiff-N-Wessun. In between each performer, Black Thought does a quick freestyle to intro who’s next, and it’s clear he is taken by surprise when The Juice Crew’s own Craig G walks on stage next. Thought doesn’t miss a beat, however, and Craig starts his verse acknowledging the moment. Keeping it Juice Crew to the finish, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane close things down.

To say this was a magical moment for Hip-Hop would be an understatement. The word that was thrown around afterwords by the fans and the MCs alike was “history.”