Blackstone takes his ‘Legacy’ to The Roots Picnic

The Roots Picnic Blackstone
First-time Roots Picnic performer Adam Blackstone will perform music from his 2022 solo album ‘Legacy’.

It’s officially summer in Philly, and that means it’s time for The Roots Picnic.

For 2023, Questlove, Black Thought, the rest of The Roots crew and Live Nation Urban have expanded the annual Roots Picnic once again to include its usual two-day-stand at The Mann in Fairmount Park, as well as and its first-ever night at the Wells Fargo Center with Dave Chappelle joining the fun.

Questlove and Adam Blackstone are pictured. Provided

The Mann’s outdoor Picnic party welcomes cherished veterans of hip hop and R&B Usher, Lauryn Hill, Roy Ayers, The Isley Bros, and Busta Rhymes, new school buzz acts GloRilla, Ari Lennox, Lucky Daye, City Girls and hometown heroes to the parade of musical artists. And while Philadelphia is represented by Eve, Lil Uzi Vert, Kindred & The Family Soul and the State Property reunion of rappers Freeway, Beanie Siegel, Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk, Oschino and Sparks, the eyes of the crowd will certainly be on a first-time Roots Picnic performer Adam Blackstone, who’ll perform music from his 2022 solo album ‘Legacy, with Coco Jones and Mary Mary along for the ride.

Considering the scope and sound of Blackstone’s debut solo album – self-penned songs such as ‘Next Day’ alongside classic jazz and R&B covers such as the Grammy-nominated ‘Round Midnight,’ featuring Jazmine Sullivan – bringing ‘Legacy’ to the stage is a huge undertaking.

“I’m honored and excited by this prospect and everyone in The Roots family knows this is my shot at moving from being a side musician to center stage,” said Blackstone. “Being on the stage of The Roots Picnic is a big dream come true.”

Blackstone is used to big dreams and huge undertakings.

Blackstone is the bassist, producer and musical director to the stars who has been behind illustrious events such as the Super Bowl LVI halftime performance with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and 50 Cent, Jay Z’s recent Basquiat-influenced performance in Paris and the 2022 Academy Awards televised ceremony. Along with MD-ing and playing on Rihanna’s 777 Tour of 2012, and acting as a longtime member of Justin Timberlake’s touring ensemble, Blackstone has been the mind behind shows including Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Maroon 5.

“The main thing about these artists bringing me in on their work is because they know, the love and the trust that I have in music – all music – and that I have their best interests at heart, for them and their music,” he said. “They can feel secure in giving me their trust and my freedom in bringing their studio music to life on stage.”

When it comes to Blackstone debuting his ‘Legacy’ work on stage, and collaborating with his old friend Questlove on The Roots Picnic, everything truly blossoms about the MD/bassist wanting to move from the background to foreground.

The Roots Picnic
Ed Newton

“Coming through the pandemic, losing friends, you find that death is not something to life, but rather, in life,” he said. “You never know when your number comes up, so I wanted something of my own, such asLegacy, to pass onto my family. I’m blessed to have highlights at the Super Bowl and the Oscars, but those are not MINE. Once that gig is over, I’m hustling to the next one, five-star things, mind you, but still not mine. ‘Legacy’ is for me, mine and my children, and the reception to me doing R&B, blues, funk and jazz – all of who I am – has been incredible.”

“What could be a better place to display all of who I am than the Roots Picnic?” Blackstone continued. “When Quest and Shawn Gee (Roots manager, head of Live Nation Urban) called and asked me to take my curatorial thing and make it a focal point of the live stage, I couldn’t refuse. Plus, as a guy who plays gutter hip hop and the music that I love as a Christian, I can have a wide range of guests on stage at The Roots Picnic while still doing my instrumental thing, authentically. That’s whatLegacy is all about.”