Erykah Badu performing with The Roots is a special occasion all on its own — add a 20-minute ode to hip-hop, complete with guest appearances from YG, the LOX, and Freeway, and it becomes one for the ages. At last month’s 8th Annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia (May 30), Badu and the Roots took it all the way back to hip-hop’s, well, roots with a mashup that encompassed not just their own songs, but everything from Afrika Bambaataa to “Gold Digger” — watch the full performance below, exclusively on Billboard.
“You know, both acts — The Roots and Erykah — did ‘Love Of My Life’ songs, and we thought it was rather apropos that we pay tribute to the culture of hip-hop in it’s 35-plus years,” Questlove tells Billboard, referring to Badu’s 2002 single “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” featuring Common, and the Roots’ “Act Too (The Love of My Life),” also featuring Common.
“Initially the idea just started with The Roots and Erykah wanting to mash our songs together,” he continues, “but as the wheels started turning I decided maybe we should turn towards more of a full on tribute to hip-hop, and then the wheels really started turning when the budget allowed me to fly out a few luminaries to perform with us. So, for some reason, a 5-minute song turned into a 20-minute migraine for my manager…but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Watch the Roots and Ms. Badu take a tour through some of hip-hop’s greatest moments (with a little help from their friends):