Exclusive: The Roots Break Down the Importance of Bringing Hip-Hop to Coachella During Their Heineken House Set
“If my memory serves correct, I think we did the first-ever Coachella, right?” – Questlove
“We did do the first Coachella — I remember I had a broken foot.” – Black Thought
Sure, no one forgets that time they had to perform in front of thousands in the middle of a desert with a broken foot, but unfortunately the guys’ collective memory was off by one year — two if you consider the gap between Coachella 1999 (the actual inaugural festival) and Coachella 2001 (the year The Roots performed). Memory aside though, both Questlove and Black Thought, along with the rest of the band members of The Roots, absolutely killed it during their over two-hour set for Coachella 2019. Thankfully The Source was on the scene to not only experience the show live, but we even got to sit down with the gentlemen afterwards for hazy recollections like the one seen above in addition to a few other standout quotables.
View this post on Instagram
Thursday Coachella throwback to Heineken House. Can you name the song? @questlove @blackthought @stroelliot @jeremyellislive @markkelley @rayangry @kirklloyd @ianhendricksonsmith @wearedelasoul @djmaseo @plugwondelasoul @talibkweli @sanaalathan @misschloeflower @keskatainment @tinafarristours @heineken_us 🔴🎥: @iamsuede #heinekenhouse #heinekenpartner #coachella #lookingatthefrontdoor
Holding things down for Day 2 at the Heineken House stage, The Roots’ frontmen ran through a bevy of their hits to create the atmosphere of a funk/soul-themed day party that extended well into the night, assisted by jams, libations and the new Heineken 0.0 which is pretty refreshing and surprisingly alcohol-free. As a result of these two and the band as a whole, classic Hip-Hop was properly brought yet again to Coachella Valley, where rap, R&B and Black music in general is being welcomed at a rapid rate in recent years.
We got a chance to cop it up with Tariq and Ahmir about why the culture of rap is so important to big festivals like Coachella, and how bands like The Roots and even De La Soul — both bands performed back-to-back on the same stage — are doing their due diligence to keep it that way.
For those preparing to experience Coachella Weekend 2, starting today (4/19) and going until Sunday (4/21), here’s a Source Exclusive preview from the guys of The Roots themselves on why Hip-Hop is officially taking over the desert:
“I feel like Hip-Hop has involved into the pop music; Pop music is Hip-Hop. For years, it has been some variation of rock & roll, and now I feel like it’s evolved to Hip-Hop. If you’re gonna embrace the most popular music like Coachella does, you just have to embrace Hip-Hop. In regards to what we do, I think it’s important to acknowledge the foundation from which we came — that’s what The Roots represents. Back in the day you used to only see rock bands performing with live instrumentation. Now, anyone doing a festival that’s at the caliber of Coachella or wherever you’ll be performing in front of thousands of people will want some live instrumentation. I feel like we represent that foundation.”
— Black Thought, The Roots
“Shoutout to the Heineken House people for having us out here.”
“We did the Heineken House a couple of years ago, just Quest and I on a DJ/drum set thing, and I was like, ‘Damn, this would’ve killed if we were able to play this sort of intimate performance with the whole band. It was dope to do this performance tonight with them.”
— Black Thought
“I really enjoy a smaller scale situation. I like more intimate crowds — it’s like a dance party.”
“There are so many elements of our show that are De La Soul-inspired or that I’ve jacked from their set [Laughs]. That in itself was also an evolution; to see De La [Soul], the foundation, and coming after them was dope, too. It made for a super special experience. I was watching them in the audience as we did certain shit that came from them, and for them to see what it has become is dope. If we were on a bigger stage where [the crowd] was farther away, it would’ve been different because we wouldn’t have been able to interact and see one another. It was really nice.”
– Black Thought
Still in the festival spirit? Peep our style feature on the Best Rap T-Shirts spotted at Coachella during Weekend 1, including Questlove’s hilarious “Fyre Fest” Ja Rule tee!
Images: Jesse Lirola (@jesselirola)