The Roots went back to their Philadelphia roots on Friday to witness the unveiling of a new mural painted as a tribute to them. “This is one of the greatest moments of our career,” drummer Ahrmir “?uestlove” Thompson said, as quoted by the AP. Fellow Roots co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, who previously recalled being ordered to scrub such murals after a vandalism bust, reportedly called the painting “an honor and a blessing.”
The mural on the back of the World Communications Charter School is located near the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, where ?uestlove and Black Thought started the Roots as students. The mural also happens to be on South Street, where the Roots members busked for change in the early ’90s. (Boyz II Men were known for never missing a beat there.)
The annual Roots Picnic also took place this weekend, with Naughty By Nature, Solange, Gary Clark Jr., Grimes, and other performers joining the guys from the mural. ?uestlove’s memoir Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove is out later this month. On September 17, Blue Note Records will release the Roots’ album with Elvis Costello, Wise Up Ghost, which if a press release can be believed has been floating around out there on white-label vinyl since Record Store Day. La Marisoul, lead singer of Los Angeles band La Santa Cecilia, guests on the album’s “Cinco Minutos Con Vos,” and Costello returns the favor on La Santa Cecilia’s new Treinta Días. Called “Losing Game,” this duet is a “kind of reply” to “Cinco Minutos Con Vos,” Costello recently told the Los Angeles Times.
Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, which created the Roots tribute, is also responsible for more than 3,600 other pieces of public art in the City of Brotherly Love. Also in the public-art spirit is Philly guitar sage Kurt Vile, whose Wakin on Pretty Daze album cover is a mural in a different local neighborhood. As ?uestlove said, according to the AP, “I’ve forever driven the streets of Philadelphia wondering, when are we getting our mural?”