the roots

The Roots live, in 1999.

Photo by Mika Väisänen

A Philly jam session with the Roots crew helped bring performing musicians into the fold.

Hip-hop officially turned 50 this year. And since its entire history is a book’s worth, I’ll just talk about what hip-hop did for live music, based on my own experience.

Though not many people know it nowadays, some of the finest and most important moments in hip-hop history actually occurred in Philadelphia during the turn of this century, at a jam session called the Black Lily. I was there, so take my word for it: None of us realized how important this would become in the future, or what it would do to transform live hip-hop. Photo by Mika Väisänen

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