Challenge Alert

Lock in $15,000 with your donation by 6:30 p.m.

Donate now

Philly’s Roots make lasting impression in hometown

The Roots will show their roots.

The Grammy-winning hip-hop band that originated in the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts in the 1980s will be the subjects of a new mural in the Headhouse district.

What the mural will be, and just where it will be are to eb determined. The Mural Arts Program is still trying to secure a wall, and scouting for an image.

MC Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, said he used to run with The Equal Team (TET), a South Philly crew that tagged walls all over the Headhouse district. He has a long history with the Mural Arts Program, back when it was still the Anti-Graffiti Network.

“I was in Anti-Graffiti Network, because I was ordered to be,” said Trotter. “It was Judge Reynolds back in the day, he said, ‘150 hours, Anti-Graffiti Network.’ I had to do these murals in the summers and on Saturdays. It’s so ironic to be part of a legal mural going up.”

Trotter and drummer Ahmir Thompson–also known as Questlove–started playing together as high school students. They have been playing together for more than 20 years, winning Grammy awards along the way.

Humbly accepting accolades from Mayor Michael Nutter, Trotter said being recognized by his home town is a high point for The Roots.

“Grammy-shrammy–I’m not excitable about many things in life,” said Trotter. “This is something I’m very excited about. I’m a Philadelphian.”

Trotter studied painting as a teenager, but he has not kept it up since his music career took off.

“I do stuff with my daughter, but nothing like this,” said Trotter. “I have an easel at home, doesn’t get much use to be honest. Maybe this is the shock that I need. Revisit that part of my life.”

The Mural Arts Program is now accepting mural proposals from artists. The deadline is Nov. 21.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.