NEW YORK — [artist id="1184"]Common[/artist] and the [artist id="775"]Roots[/artist] may have shared top billing Wednesday night during their performance at Terminal 5 in Manhattan, but the under card — featuring Colin Monroe, Don Omar and Bilal — packed as big of a punch as the two musical heavyweights.
It was the surprise guest, though, that stole the show from them all.
"We got the Queen in the house," Common told the crowd that gathered for the last stop of the Hennessy Artistry 2009 Series. "I don't know if you know who I'm talking about."
Moments later, Queen Latifah came onstage to a thunderous applause. The legendary MC sang some jazz standards before kicking into rhyme mode. "Who you calling a bi---?" she asked, as ?uestlove led the Roots into "U.N.I.T.Y."
Once the Roots hit the stage, the production took on a round-robin feel, as Common darted on and off the stage and other acts took turns onstage in between.
The Chicago MC performed "The People" one moment, and then the Roots went into "The Next Moment." Common returned for "The Light," and the Roots smoothly segued into A Tribe Called Quest's "Bonita Applebum."
Tribe frontman Q-Tip ran onstage and took the mic. The Queens rapper spit some of his classic lines before turning things up a notch with Tribe's "Electric Relaxation."
Eve, Ashanti, Robin Thicke and wife Paula Patton, Tyrese, "Gossip Girl" actor Penn Badgley, Lucy Liu and Anthony Mackie were among those in attendance for the set. The performance was the finale in a four-city tour that included stops in Atlanta, Houston and Washington, D.C.