Black Thought, Yasiin Bey, Pharoahe Monch & Tobe Nwigwe Make A New Live At The BBQ

Yesterday (June 1), The Roots hosted their 12th-annual picnic in the legendary group’s hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event moved this year to the Mann Center, in the same West Philly that Questlove represents. With active three stages, the day was filled with incredible performances, including a 20th-anniversary rendition of Things Fall Apart featuring appearances by Common, Yasiin Bey, Ursula Rucker, Jill Scott, Dice Raw, and Beanie Sigel (who also brought Freeway and the Young Gunz to the stage).

In addition to standout concerts by H.E.R., Raphael Saadiq (with members of the Soulquarians playing along), and many others, J. Period and Black Thought hosted their “Live Mixtape,” as has become part of The Roots Picnic tradition. With J. and The Roots’ Stro Elliot behind their respective equipment platforms, this year’s featured guest MC was Yasiin Bey, who pulled from his solo catalog, Black Star, and guest work. Pharoahe Monch and Maimouna Youssef were among the surprise guests. Monch and Mos performed “Oh No” alongside Black Thought, honoring their late song collaborator, Nate Dogg. Yasiin and Black Thought did a rendition of “Respiration,” a remix which Tariq guested on two decades ago.

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However, for the close of the high-energy event, the MCs took to the stage to do a spin on “Live At The Barbeque.” With J. Period and Stro supplying their take on the Large Professor-produced Main Source posse cut instrumental from 1991, Black Thought recalled a time when he, Mos Def, and Pharoahe Monch covered The Source magazine together. Seconds later, the three MCs burned through pages of verses, making a classic Hip-Hop moment. From the second row of the audience, Ambrosia For Heads captured the history as it unfolded.

An animated Tariq Trotter kicks things off with rhymes about how neither his message nor his team can be stopped. Pharoahe Monch takes center stage next, with an intense multi-syllabic demonstration of dopeness. Alongside his former Rawkus Records label-mate and his “RISE UP!” collaborator, Monch gets down. During Pharoahe’s performance, Heads can see Black Thought walk over to Houston, Texas MC Tobe Nwigwe, who was watching from the side-stage. Tariq invites the rapidly-rising sensation to join the affair. Tobe borrows Yasiin’s vintage microphone and exchanges a pound with the MC, as he goes next. The MC impresses the crowd with a barrage of bars from his “From The Swat” track. Yasiin receives his personal mic back, after congratulating Tobe, and finesses the flow with lyrics from “Casa Bey.”

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Black Thought closes out the set honoring time-tested Hip-Hop, going with his spin of LL Cool J’s “El Shabazz” routine from Radio. “El Shabazz, we outta Philly, PA / It’s time to rock this mothaf*cka like four the hard way,” Tariq proclaims, bigging up the stage’s guest and the three MCs in an incredible Hip-Hop display.

J. Period recently released The RISE UP Project, an album that features Black Thought, Pharaohe Monch, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rhymefest, Xzibit, and Posdnuos, among others.

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A Live Mixtape conversation with Pharoahe Monch, J. Period and Maimouna Youssef is available at AFH TV, as well as interviews with Black Thought. Subscribe to watch in full. We are currently offering free 30-day trials.