In the year 2009 somehow I worked my way into becoming The Roots house photographer and it all happened at the now closed Highline Ballroom!
I started photographing them years before 2009 but it was during the jam sessions ( that cost 10 dollars btw ) that I really got to know my brothers and my war with Questlove began!
I could have not have had a better ended to the venue where I honed my skills as a photographer. Looking back, I literally went from guy who takes pics to pro photog during this time in my career.
My favorite hip hop band closing out the iconic Highline Ballroom two nights ago on Monday February 4th, 2019 and they KILLED IT with classic material and amazing covers as only The Roots can do was a dream come true.
Here’s some of the images I captured on Monday:
But lets back up just a little…..10 years or so, back to the Jam sessions. Back to those legendary nights where week after week Questlove, Black Thought and Richard Nichols (RIP) and the rest of the show producers put together some of the eras top talent together that otherwise would not performed together.
To me one of the greatest things The Roots do is genre bending and binding. They can play anything and back in 09 they did this for weeks on end.
Every week I could count on seeing some of my friends. I knew I would see Ginny, Dan, Bill, and Tina. Every week I knew I would be in store for something amazing. Every week I know there would be a wide range of special guest in the house from Jimmy Fallon and Taraji P. Henson to Ron Jeremy and Dream Hampton.
I miss those days!
Here’s a list of some of the talent that I remember performing at those sessions:
Janelle Monae, Mos Def, Wale, Truck North, Porn, Jesse Boykins IIITanya Morgan, Nneka, Freeway, Joe Budden, Bilal, Sahr Ngaujah, Jay Electronica , Q Tip, MOP, Craig G, Talib Kweli, Styles P, Zoe Kravitz, Jean Grea, Members of In Living Color, Boots Riley, Sean P, Amanda Seals, Skillz and many many more.
Here’s some highlights in photos from that year of jam sessions
Highline Ballroom, you will be dearly missed!