The Roots are a Philadelphia institution, right up there with the Liberty Bell, Rocky and Tastycake. They're one of the hardest working bands in the music business and have toured prolifically since the group came together through high school friends Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson. Twenty years and nine albums later, the group is going stronger than ever. Though they've cut down touring a little, fans can still catch them getting it on everyday on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The group is known for being one of the best live acts in any genre, and a group that no fan of music should miss seeing in person.

Hailing from Long Island, N.Y., Public Enemy is one of the most well respected and critically acclaimed hip hop groups of all time. Debuting way back in 1987 with Yo! Bum Rush the Show, P.E.'s politically tinged rhymes from front man Chuck D, booming beats from The Bomb Squad production team and comedic antics from Flava Flav quickly made the group one of the most revered in hip-hop's golden era. However, it was their sophomore album, 1988's It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back, that cemented the group's legendary status. Since then, P.E. has gone on to release several well received items, and leader Chuck D has been one of the most respected political activists in the mainstream media. Aside from being known for his strong opinions, Chuck has also been a strong supporter of technology that has been shunned or ignored by many other artists from his era, as he was one of the first big names in hip hop to embrace file sharing and having a strong web presence. They’ll be playing It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back in it’s entirety, backed by The Roots and Antibalas.
This Brooklyn based band's name translates to "bullet proof" in Spanish, and while you might think they'd be a more hardcore act with a name like that, Antibalas is actually one of the best Afrobeat groups in the United States. The group was also featured on TVotR’s albums Return to Cookie Mountain and Dear Science. Along with The Roots, Antibalas will be playing for Public Enemy during their performance of It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back, and if you want a taste of what to expect, check out this clip of them performing during an episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
One of the most critically acclaimed bands to emerge in the past decade, New York based TV On The Radio (TVotR) have had a string of excellent albums since their 2001 debut, Ok Calculator. Their third album, 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain, was named album of the year by SPIN magazine and also earned some high praise from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media. Their 2008 follow up, Dear Science earned them even more accolades, receiving Best Album of 08 awards from MTV, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and ranking #2 on Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca’s top ten list. TVotR has a sound that’s hard to categorize and blends elements of numerous genres into a package almost anyone can enjoy.
This singer/songwriter and native Philadelphian emerged as one of 2008's rising stars through her critically acclaimed debut album, Santogold. Although some legal trouble earlier in the year caused her to drop the O from her name and replace it with an I, she’s been having a great 2009 so far, being featured along with Jay-Z on the Kanye West produced “Brooklyn Go Hard” from the Notorious soundtrack.  Those that have been following Philadelphia's music scene for a while will undoubtedly recognize her as the woman behind Res' 2001 album, How I Do, which Santigold wrote and produced as well as her work with artists from Spank Rock to King Britt.
This blues/rock duo from Akron, Ohio consists of guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney and the two have drawn many comparisons to groups like The White Stripes. The group has worked with a diverse range of artists from the late Ike Turner to Danger Mouse, who produced the group’s 2008 album, Attack & Release and will likely gain a new group of followers with their Picnic performance.
An abstract emcee from the left coast, Busdriver has had hip hop in his veins since his birth. His father, Ralph Farquhar, was the screenwriter for the classic hip hop film Krush Groove, and Busdriver himself has been rhyming since the tender age of 9. Having honed his skills at the legendary Project Blowed open mics, he’s gone on to have worked with other great West Coast rhymers such as Aceyalone, Myka 9 and Abstract Rude. The Los Angels native plans to release his latest album, Jhelli Beam, June 9th
Elevator Fight is a six month old band featuring Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Grammy Award-wining artist Lenny Kravitz. At the core are former Nouveau Riche members Joe Baldacci on drums, Dominic Angelella on Guitar and musical genius Khari Mateen on bass. Mateen is an accomplished producer, and has lent his talents to the last two Roots albums. Rounding out the band are Rick Friedrich, another amazing producer, and Nick Bockrath.
For more on the group, check out our coverage of their debut show and our Elevator Fight INTRVW.
The Cleveland based emcee is one of hip hop's fastest rising stars thanks to his catchy hit, "Day and Night". Prior to that taking off, Cudi's introduction to the world came in the form of his A Kid Named Cudi mixtape in 2008. After that was heard by super producer Kanye West, Cudi was quickly signed to GOOD Music, where he was featured on Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak, and helped right the lead single "Heartless". The smooth voiced rhymer is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which is slated to release later this year. 
One of hip hop’s newest controversial figures, Asher Roth, whether you love or hate his music, is definitely a talented emcee. Eschewing the usual bravado of traditional hip hop and instead sticking to subjects he knows (namely college life and weed), Roth has gained a sizable fan base. His mainstream debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, made it to the number five spot on the billboard charts.
Philly's own three man team of emcee Charlie K and producers Kush Shalimar and Chris Conway has started to garner a sizeable following through a string of incredible performances throughout 2008 and into 2009. It’s definitely understandable why they would be picked for one of the premier live events on the East Coast; the group’s stage show is one of the best around with Charlie K bringing incredible amounts of energy while Kush’s skillful keyboard playing is complimented by Chris Conway live on the MPC drum machine.
For more on Writtenhouse, check out our INTRVW with the group.
Two of Philly's best DJs and the creative minds behind Back 2 Basics, one of the best weekly events in the city, will get to show off their song selector skills on the second stage. Hip hop heads will know Britt from his days as Silkworm, DJ and producer for the group Digable Planets and is also the head of the Five Six Media company, which is home to artists such as Ursula Rucker. Expect a nice selection of house and hip hop when these guys get on the turntables prior to the performances.