The hip-hop group has been nominated for six Grammy awards since 1999. Its song “You Got Me” won the Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2000.
Wetenhall said that difficulty in planning had delayed the announcement.
“Booking the band for Lawnparties requires a lot of different pieces to come together and we could not announce the artist until everything was in place,” Wetenhall said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian. “In this situation, it was mainly a question of little things holding us back, and we wanted to be absolutely sure that we had signed a contract that said the band was coming before we made any announcements.”
Shape Machine was chosen after demonstrating “a wide appeal by playing on campus and also at clubs in New York and Philadelphia,” Wetenhall said. “They play their own original music rather than covers, which means we will have two unique performances next Sunday.”
Wetenhall is also a staff writer for the ‘Prince.’
Leo Lester ’11, the drummer for Shape Machine, said that the band found out it would be opening at Lawnparties “a few weeks ago.”
Lester, who called himself “definitely a big fan” of The Roots — especially the band’s drummer, Questlove — said he was “unbelievably” excited to play.
“This is the craziest thing,” he said. “The opportunity to play with [The Roots] and share the stage with them is great.”
Jackson Greenberg ’12, who plays the keyboard for Shape Machine, said of The Roots, “They’re personally one of my favorite bands, if not my favorite.”
Greenberg explained that he and Matt Wong ’10, the band’s bassist, came up with the idea for Shape Machine on the train ride back from a concert by The Roots last spring. “At that show in New York, they said they liked giving young bands an opportunity, so things have really come full circle,” Wong said.
“This will be the largest crowd we’ve played in front of,” Lester noted.
USG leaders said they are pleased with the choices.
“The Roots is a group that has focused on live performances since they began, so they give awesome concerts,” USG president Michael Yaroshefsky ’12 said in an e-mail.
“I’m happy with the choice and hope the student body will be excited,” USG vice president Sam Dorison ’11 said in an e-mail.
“They’re amazing live,” Greenberg said of The Roots. “Not many people know that about them.”
Quadrangle Club will host the event, which it will co-sponsor with the USG and the Alcohol Initiative.