Meek Mill will headline the Roots Picnic.
For the second year running, the all-day party put together by Philadelphia hip-hop crew and Tonight Show house band the Roots will take place May 30 at the Mann Center in Fairmount Park, where the multistage affair moved in 2019 after 11 years at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing.
For Mill, the Philadelphia rapper fresh off a Grammy nomination for his 2018 postprison album Championships, it’s another Philly-fest feather in the cap. The rhymer born Robert Rihmeek Williams headlined Made in America in 2018.
Also leading the bill will be Summer Walker, the Atlanta R&B singer who had a breakout success with her debut album Over It, and DaBaby, the fast-paced North Carolina emcee formerly known as Baby Jesus, who scored hits last year with “Suge” and “Bop.”
Other intriguing names in the lineup include Snoh Aalegra, the Swedish R&B singer of Iranian heritage (now based in Los Angeles); Nigerian pop star Burna Boy; and Thundercat, the psychedelic jazz-funk bassist and bandleader who’s a Picnic veteran.
The host band led by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will turn their set into a showcase called The Roots Present Soul, with a particular focus on sleek 1990s and 2000s R&B with guest Musiq Soulchild, SWV, and Brandy (whose 1996 prom date with the late Kobe Bryant was recalled in a recent Inquirer oral history).
The Black Thought & J. Period Mixtape, an annual late-afternoon highlight of the fest, promises to be a burner this year, with rising Buffalo, N.Y., trio Griselda, plus two members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface and Raekwon.
Also promising: bassist Meshell Ndegeocello’s presentation, billed as the bandleader “Reimagines Prince and This Thing Called Life.”
There will be a live-edition Questlove Supreme Podcast, an interview segment with journalist Elliott Wilson, and an Around The Way Curls podcast. Philly acts in addition to Mill, the Roots, and Musiq will include West Philly collective Hardwork Movement and Aquil Dawud, the singer whose parents are Philly neo-soul duo Kindred the Family Soul.
Last year, the Picnic set attendance records, thanks in part to a star-studded celebration of the Roots’ 1999 album Things Fall Apart. This year, the fest will be held on the Saturday following the Hoagie Nation fest’s inaugural year in Fairmount Park.
Tickets go on sale Friday at noon. More info at RootsPicnic.com.