Video

Okayplayer TV: 5th Annual Roots Picnic Recap Video!

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Looking back on The Roots Picnic, it's hard to believe it was only 2 days long. We coulda sworn that the Okay crew was out in Philly raging for at least a week. The recap video says it all - watch it above and read the full story by Okayplayer's Eddie "STATS":

First of all, let’s talk about these ill capers. And by ‘ill capers’ I mean: The mind-blowing live performances, collaborations, DJ sets and spontaneous raves that unfolded during the 5th annual Roots Picnic on Philadephia’s festival pier at Penn’s Landing last weekend. And by ‘talk about’ I mean: Beam the sights and sounds of this ill Okayplayer TV recap directed by Emmai Alaquiva (full credits after the jump) directly into your brain. Because if we actually sat here and talked about every mind that got blown over those 2 days–the historic convergence of De La Soul, Yasiin BeyThe Roots onstage, the rain-soaked mini-freaknik that will henceforth be forever known by people that were there simply as ‘Diplo-tent’ (ex: “Were you at Diplo-tent? That sh*t was crazy!”), the shout-every-word percapella of Rakim x The Roots performing Paid In Full in full, and so many more–we would be talking for like 2 weeks. Luckily, you can relive it all in about 3 minutes and 41 seconds above–and stay tuned for more highlights to come!

Allison Swank – Senior Producer

Emmai Alaquiva – Director | Editor | Co-Producer | Cinematographer

Sinat Giwa – Production

Rory Webb – Production

Jordan Gilliam – Audio Management

Alex Goldblum – Data Management

Cinematographers:

Myo Campbell

Alex Gaylon

Riley Graham

Zach Isaac

Yahya Ismall

Rob Lee

Dominique Taylor

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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