Philadelphia, not New York City, is the birthplace of graffiti. In Questlove’s phenomenal interview with Nardwuar (which everyone should check out, whether they do or do not have 45 free minutes), the Roots drummer explains that Philly natives Cool Earl and Cornbread kicked off tagging culture in the early 1960s.
Now, The Roots are being honored in their hometown with a multistory, graffiti mural of their own. The mural appears on the back of a charter school on South Street, the Philly street where Questlove and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter started busking for money in 1992. The piece, created by the Mural Arts Program, is called “Legendary.”
Questlove took to Instagram to share his reaction and a photo of the mural.
“Wow Philly. Thank You. 21 years ago this Saturday two high school graduates tried their luck at *busking* on 5th & South Street to make “date money” and cop some Girbauds. 21 years & 10 blocks later we return to the scen—nope–the dream of the crime. Incredible Journey. Wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you @muralarts & @michael_nutter & @knightfdn & @gsteuer.”
The mural was unveiled yesterday, the day before the annual Roots Picnic. This year’s edition at Penns Landing features performances by Solange, Naughty By Nature, Joey Bada$$ and, of course, The Roots.