SALT n PEPA
Story by Sheldon Robertson and Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection
Pick up Those Hips!
This group from Queens, NY, first hit the charts a few years after the birth of hip-hop. So it was only fitting that early in their Sunfest performance, Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton would lead the crowd in “ol’ school” chants from rap classics such as “Rappers’ Delight.”
Backing the two vocalists was their longtime DJ Spinderella, and contributing to the upbeat atmosphere was the presence of two muscular and energetic male dancers, doing routines by themselves and also with Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Some of these dance routines took place on the catwalk jutting out into the audience, enabling the fans to get a good look at the group’s dance moves.
Overall, the vibe was very fun, with all three women smiling a lot, and Salt ’n’ Pepa chatting extensively with the audience.
Overlapping sets dragged us away from this show, but those who stayed were treated to such hits as “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and their signature tune “Push It.” Of all the shows in what was a very good year for Sunfest, this was the performance I wish I could have watched till the end.
Fans at the Ford Stage enjoying an afternoon of Hip Hop and Soul
Story by Gianna Mascaro of Knight News.com and Sheldon Robertson of The Music Type, Photos by Empress K Reggae Reflection
This Philadelphia hip-hop/neo soul group is probably best known for its partnership with television host Jimmy Fallon, having been the house band for his previous talk show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and now The Tonight Show. But the recording career of The Roots, considered one of the most progressive acts in contemporary music, is just as notable as its late-night tenure. Not only has the group been awarded a handful of Grammys in the Rap and R&B categories, it has also amassed gold and platinum records with their studio releases, some of which have included collaboration with artists such as John Legend and Elvis Costello.
For its Sunfest performance, drummer/co-founder Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson took his place behind his kit, signature Afro pick sticking out of his hair. Questlove (also spelled “?estlove”) was joined by vocalist/co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and the rest of the eight-man band in what would prove to be a high-energy performance.
The horn section in particular was showcased, with trumpet solos by David Guy of the Dap-Kings band. Also featured was sousaphone player Damon “Tuba Gooding Junior” Bryson, who wandered the stage as he played, even venturing out on to the catwalk several times. All along, the proceedings were presided over by Black Thought, clad in all white as he rapped over the music and introduced his band-mates to the audience before solos.
Any late-night show band needs to have a number of covers in its arsenal, and The Roots took the opportunity to show off how much of other artists’ music they know. Sprinkled throughout the set was an eclectic set of covers that included hits by the recently-deceased Prince (“Kiss”, “Let’s Go Crazy”), George Thoroughgood (“Bad to the Bone/Who Do You Love”), Damian Marley (“Welcome To Jamrock”), even Led Zeppelin (“The Immigrant Song”). Most songs turned into extended instrumental jams that tended to flow together. The set concluded with a medley that included “The Seed (2.0)”, the band’s hit featuring fellow eclectic musician Cody Chestnutt.