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Roots Picnic Primer: Four Acts You Need to Experience.

May 29, 2012

Kevin Stairiker points out four reasons you should go to The Roots Picnic this weekend.

At 31-years old, Danny Brown (above) finally arrived in the form of a free album that still has people totally baffled a year later. Proclaimed as Spin’s best hip-hop album of 2011, XXX is the type of bizarre masterpiece that hip-hop fans clamor for. Early in the album, Brown declares that he makes “anti-clean rap,” so rest assured that his stage act is not for the faint of heart. Even though Brown isn’t one of the main headliners at the picnic, his name will be on everyone’s tongue by the end of the weekend.

Nearly a year after the release of her third album, Strange Mercy, Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is riding on the crest of a wave of ever-growing success. Clark‘s music career began in earnest after playing with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, gaining live experience while working on her own music as well. She released her debut Marry Me in 2007. Long since removed from the sensitivity of Marry MeStrange Mercy is the sound of a glorious collapse, the kind that promises a performance even more intense than the recordings themselves hold. (Photo by Kirsten Stamn)

Whether or not you were there from the outset of the D.A.I.S.Y. age, you should know that De La Soul are a vital ingredient in the recipe of hip-hop history. Filling the vital “old-school” spot in this year’s Picnic, De La Soul are an interesting choice because they never really fell off. While some albums received more critical acclaim than others, the past 25 years have more or less been something of an award tour for the ever-loveable and highly-respected trio of Posdnous, Maceo and Dave. Classics like “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” (above) will have attendees dancing with abandon.

At this point, it seems like everybody wants Diplo. While he’s fresh off of an unexpected hit with Usher, Diplo long ago hit his stride and has been reaping the benefits. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi but Philadelphia welcomed him with open arms and has since claimed him as our own. A slow and steady climb up the rickety ladder of popularity led him to producing/co-writing M.I.A.’s breakthrough “Paper Planes,” which became his breakthrough as well. Diplo has been jet-setting the world in search of new types of music and new artists to work with to expand his musical palette. After all that, Diplo still shows mad love for his adopted home.

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