The Roots worked as the house band for top-selling acts like Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran because of its annual free concert Friday in Philadelphia celebrating Independence Day.
The Roots Philly 4th of July Jam occured on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where U.K.-based Sheeran closed the three-hour event which featured Jennifer Hudson and Aloe Blacc.
Sheeran sang “The A Team” as well as his latest hit, “Sing.” The second track is from his new album, “+,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart now.
The event starring Questlove, Black Thought and other members of the hip-hop band aired survive VH1 and Palladia.
Minaj was energetic during her set, telling the crowd that Philadelphia is one of “her favourite places.” She performed “Super Bass,” ”Pills N Potions” and closed with “Moment 4 Life.”
Pop singer Ariana Grande was said to be part of the lineup Friday, but her representative said she’d to pull out because of a family emergency.
Hudson belted her signature high notes, especially on “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” When she sang “Spotlight,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter got from his seat, nodded his head and sang along.
Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway is also the home for the Jay Z-curated Made In America festival.