UPDATE: You want new Black Thought music? You got new Black Thought music. Listen to him eviscerate a 9th Wonder beat with Styles P on “Making A Murderer” below:
What started off as a way to create the musical diversity that was missing within most festivals, has blossomed into so much more. The Roots Picnic debuted back in 2008 and featured Diplo, Gnarls Barkley, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more. With its growing audience, the concert has continued to remain true to it’s diverse music message.
In an interview with Ambrosia for Heads, Black Thought reflected on the history of The Roots Picnic, being a fan of Future, and creating new music with 9th Wonder, Royce the 5’9, and Eminem.
On What Makes the Roots Picnic Different: How does one distinguish themselves from the pack? The answer, in our minds, is by remaining ahead of the curve and keeping an ear to the street. It’s like the “something old, something new, something borrowed” kind of philosophy. The Roots Picnic is where legends and upstarts meet. So yeah, it’s a way to introduce artists to different audiences. It’s a way to introduce a legendary artist who’s been around for a longer period of time to some younger people who may not have been up on it—and vice versa. Yeah, that’s what makes the Roots Picnic super unique, and why the brand continues to expand. The Roots Picnic is basically something that’s taken on a life of its own. It’s a brand that we’re very proud of.
On Future’s Music: Future’s beats aren’t usually that melodic, but Future is very melodic in his cadence. He’s a dope songwriter. I could listen to an R&B song that Future wrote and I could tell that Future wrote it. I’ve been a Future fan since “Tony Montana” days. I like the way he’s developed as an artist, the way he’s progressed. There’s a song on [DS2] called “I Serve The Base” that’s really put me in the mind of Bomb Squad production. Like, I felt like it was Public Enemy-esque. Yeah, maybe people will be surprised, but I’m listening and I’m checkin’ for stuff. I’m checkin’ for everything. When I’m not, then I’m not checkin’ for anything.
On Upcoming Projects: Questlove and I are in a really good creative space, Roots-wise. We’ve been working on new Roots music. We don’t have any particular concept or any particular time frame that we’re looking at but we’ve been working on new Roots music.
I’ve been working a lot with 9th Wonder. So we have quite a few songs together, one of which I think we’ll be putting out pretty soon. I think it’s probably gonna break the Internet.
I’ve been working a lot with Royce [5’9”]. We just put out a song a couple of days ago called “Rap On Steroids” that people are kinda goin’ nuts about right now. It’s a snippet of a song that, in its entirety, will feature Royce, Eminem, and myself. Look forward to all this new stuff coming out.
This year’s Roots Picnic— featuring DMX, Usher, Future and more—will be held at Festival Pier on June 4th. Tickets are still available for purchase here. Checkout the rest of Black Thought’s interview on Ambrosia for Heads.