The Roots Partner with Amazon for Two Children’s Shows

By Sameer Rao Apr 14, 2017

The hottest band in late night TV will bring its music to not one, but two more shows thanks to a new partnership with Amazon. 

Deadline reported yesterday (April 13) that prolific hip-hop group and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" house band The Roots, through its Passyunk Productions development group, will create two new children’s series with the streaming network. Group founders Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter will executive produce the projects alongside Brian Sher ("Boss") and manager Shawn Gee, who produces the group’s annual July 4th concert in their native Philadelphia.

One of the series will be a live-action show; no details have been released about the project. The other is an animated show, "South Street Sounds," summarized by Deadline as follows: 

Written by Becky Friedman ("Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood") and featuring music by The Roots, "South Street Sounds" follows three friends growing up in the most musical of neighborhoods, where the birds tweet to a beat, every shop-keeper, pizza-maker and crossing guard dances perfectly in time, and having a bad day means literally singing the blues. With such musical surroundings, it’s only natural that these three friends have formed a band called "South Street." Together, creative-scatterbrain Zora, future-entrepreneur Nick and disaster-averse Tyson, pride themselves on playing gigs for any occasion: no event is too big or too small!  

The show’s name and plot draw from the band’s own origin story. As explained in Thompson’s 2013 memoir, "Mo’ Meta Blues," the group grew from his and Trotter’s teenage days of playing music for money on Philadelphia’s South Street, a longtime entertainment district that now features a mural with the band’s likeness.

"Our love for music started as young kids, and we hope to inspire a generation of future artists, musicians and music fans through the stories we tell and the music they hear on these shows," Trotter told Deadline. 

This isn’t the group’s first foray into children’s television. It performed the melodic "Lovely, Love My Family" in a 2008 episode of Nick Jr.’s live-action show, "Yo Gabba Gabba!"