Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
A friend referred to the “Smokin’ Grooves” tour as “black music for white people” (an old Screamin’ Jay Hawkins album title). Sure, the New York Times proclaimed recently that George Clinton’s Rainbow Coalition was the next Grateful Dead. The Roots play slow and freaky jazz with real instrumentsmeaning honkys can play air guitar when the bassist pulls out some Hendrix. And of course, everyone loves Erykah Badu. Her Toni Morrison via Billie Holiday act appeals to Oprah’s book club members as well as folks who are into blue notes. Rounding out the bill are some hiphop hi-jinks (Pharcyde), hemp highs (Cypress Hill), and sexual highs (Foxy Brown). What makes this tour the summer’s finest Freaknik is that each act can hold its own, each act has carved out some innovative moves (except Foxy Brown). With hiphop in such a sorry state, the Roots and Badu’s trips to long-lost genre galaxies of funk and jazz are much needed no matter what color you are. Ironically, while Wu-Tang tours with Rage Against the Machine, “Smokin’ Grooves” has turned out to be one for hiphop purists. Bring your boarding pass at 5:30 p.m. at Nissan Pavilion, Bristow. $17.50-32.50. (703) 754-6400. (Jason Cherkis)