Watch Jimmy Fallon Induct the Roots Onto Philadelphia Walk of Fame

Jimmy Fallon lauded the Roots as “the hardest working band in late night, and anywhere else” at the hip-hop outfit’s induction onto the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame on Monday.

The ceremony was captured by radio station WOGL, and Fallon happily trekked from New York City to the hometown of his Tonight Show band to to mark the occasion. During his speech, the host recalled how NYC’s proximity to Philadelphia was a crucial component of getting the Roots to sign on as the house band of his first gig, Late Night.

“They defy genre, they can play any type of music, they can appeal to all different audiences, they’re smart, they’re talented, they can do it all,” Fallon said, adding later: “Every musician coming through New York wants to sit in with the Roots. Singers booked on the show won’t even bring bands, they’re just like, ‘Nah, we’d rather just have the Roots play with us.'”

Fallon even closed out his speech with some local flavor, summing up his love, affection and appreciation for the Roots in the most Philly way possible: “What can I say, the Roots are my jawn.”

Both Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter spoke on behalf of the Roots following Fallon’s introduction. Questlove recalled the induction of his own father, musician Lee Andrews, onto the Walk of Fame 25 years earlier. He admitted, however, he doesn’t remember much about the ceremony — he was too busy listening to the first demo he and Black Thought had recorded that same day. 

Black Thought, for his part, offered a poetic paean to Philadelphia in his remarks: “It is an honor to know that, in the tradition of the cave etchings of original man, the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, the iconic artistry found in the ruins of the Mayans, Aztecs and in Rome, that these monuments that we now erect — this graffiti, these murals, these statues and plaques and so on — will serve as our time capsule.

“This is what makes up the fabric that, once woven together, will tell the story of our great city and these great times, as turbulent as they may be, to generations and civilizations to come,” he added. “So what better place to be immortalized in that way than on Broad Street, Philadelphia’s main artery. Our equator. Our Mason-Dixon Line, so to speak. It’s from these streets that we came, and now back to these streets that we return.”

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