The Roots trolled Trump last night on Jimmy Fallon and nobody noticed

The band welcomed Trump with a couple choice Erykah Badu bars.

The Roots on stage in Cleveland in July. CREDIT: Jason Miller/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation
The Roots on stage in Cleveland in July. CREDIT: Jason Miller/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Jimmy Fallon is getting a ton of flak for a sycophantic, softball-stuffed interview with Donald Trump that aired on Thursday night.

But a moment at the start of the interview is worth some separate attention. The Roots, who have raised some eyebrows by trolling past guests through their selection of intro music on Fallon’s show, snapped a shot off at Trump as he walked onto the set.

The veteran hip-hop band welcomed Trump with a few bars of Erykah Badu’s “20 Feet Tall,” a dig at Trump’s notorious pledge to wall Mexico off from the United States no matter the consequences.

“And you, you built a wall, a 20-foot wall, so I couldn’t see,” sang Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and guitarist “Captain” Kirk Douglas. Given Fallon’s decision to cuddle up to the racist, xenophobic, serially lying huckster who secured the GOP’s presidential nod, the Badu micro-cover stood as the sole moment of challenge Trump faced in Fallon’s studio.


NBC hasn’t posted a clip from Trump’s appearance that includes the introduction, other than in video of the full Tonight Show episode. But here’s an unlicensed YouTube clip someone recorded and posted of the uncut interview:

Drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and his bandmates have not yet made any comment on Trump’s appearance.

Earlier in their time as Fallon’s permanent band — and one of his show’s main attractions — the beloved and outspoken group got themselves in hot water with a more aggressive version of the same kind of trolling.

In 2011, they welcomed then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with a few bars of Fishbone’s “Lyin’ass Bitch.” Thompson had alerted his Twitter followers to keep an ear out ahead of that night’s broadcast, and the moment was widely covered the next day.


NBC executives were angry. Thompson has said the network threatened to fire the band. Bachmann demanded an apology, and both the network and Fallon obliged.

Thompson also said that NBC insisted on reviewing and approving the band’s intro music plans from then on. Presumably there’s nothing that doesn’t pass muster with the network about pointing out that a man who’s built his political ascent on xenophobia and promising to literally wall off the southern border of the country.

Fallon is at least the second prominent NBC employee to cozy up to Trump recently, after NBC News’ Matt Lauer repeatedly ignored his journalistic obligations during the network’s “Commander-In-Chief Forum” earlier this month and failed to fact-check Trump’s claims.

This post has been updated to correct the title of the Badu song.