Questlove Talks Career, Soulquarians, Firing Shots At Bad Boy & More In RBMA Lecture

(AllHipHop News) Questlove sat down with Jeff Mao of Ego Trip for another installment of the Red Bull Music Academy lecture series.

The Grammy-winning bandleader of The Roots talks about his group’s resident gig on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, working with the Soulquarians collective, the 1990’s Hip Hop “civil war” between the underground and the mainstream, teaching at New York University, and a lot more.

Quest also jumps behind the drum set to demonstrate his process for creating music.

Put aside an hour and a half (or come back) to listen to the drummer/producer/ DJ talk about his storied career.

[ALSO READ: Questlove of The Roots Planning To Release Memoir This Summer]

[ALSO READ: Q-Tip Talks About His Career As A Producer In Red Bull Music Academy Lecture]

Watch Questlove’s Red Bull Music Academy Lecture below.

  • Propz to Quest!

    A definite inspiration & role model.

    • EL_BARK

      How that beef start?
      You from NY?? Lol.
      Why philly niggas & NY cats cant seem to get along. Lmao despite being right next door to each other. Smh
      Shet & now that i think of it, NY cats dont get along with NY cats Lol
      Yall some cocky arrogant mofos. J/k

      Harlem vs brooklyn
      Queens vs bronx
      Quenns vs brooklyn

      • I’m saying…Queens started that beef with MC Shan’s “The Bridge”…but the Bx ended it with KRS1’s “The Bridge is Over!” LOL~N

        Bad Boy beef?

        Not sure…but who like Bad Boy anyway?

      • EL_BARK

        in my biggie voice. ” you aint got ready to die” ????? Lol

        Say what you want bout puff, but if u tell me u was kocking your heads to some of they hits.

        I might have to call u a untruthful person…. Not a liar but just un-truthful

        I just look it up, big was slick when he was dissing people.
        They say in the craig mack remix, he say the “gooch ”
        But he clearly say the roots, but on this questlove interview,
        He states that puff came at him or some shet, like how yall going to diss my us & my man. Big aint got nothing but live for yall. So i guessing they took that big verse on the chin.
        Then when they next album drop, they fired backwith ” what they do video” which i do remember people saying back then they were dissing bad boy. I just watch the video again, & the scence when black thought be on the bed, with the chick in the backround, was similar to biggie one more chance,
        The house setting was similar to juicy, the champange bottles & glasses, was a double shot. At big & nas. Nas had a champange glass on the worlds is yours, rocking it back & forth. Lol they did go in after looking at it again. Lol

      • Severe Thebeneficent

        lol biggie said and I quote “…more guns than roses, foes is shaking in they boots, invisible bully, like the gooch, disappear, vamoose, ya wack to me…” that could be a punchline about a certain person…idk…but it wasnt no shot! And even if it was nobody cared! The original and the remix was the hottest shit out! The roots wasnt out nationally, or poppin at that time when flava in your ear remix came out…? That shit came out in 93-94! how do you diss somebody you never even heard of lol? If you think about it the industry always had the guys on the bottom going at the commercially successful! BCC went at bad boy as well, I think the video was “no fear”…The roots was blip on the radar at that time…

      • EL_BARK

        Man idk but the its sounds like he said the roots.
        & i might be mistaken the roots were well known in the nyc philly & undergtound at that time. Matbe not nationally known but they had a fan base. But to me its the shet after that.

        Take them rhymes back to the factory, i see gimmick the wack lyrics ……. Your mad my style your admiring dont get mad ups is hiring….. Even if he said “gooch” i sure he had to think thats or known it sounded close…

        Cause why would the roots who i lnow personally just fired shots subliminally in that what we do video.

        Big was smart when he diss somrbody & live to plan on words.
        I still think in victory he was dissing NAS,
        Ductsping your fam destiny lays in my hands.
        Was a slick pun towards nas, cause they had a falling out over that ghostface talking slick shet,???? But who knows.

        But one thing for sure puff felt they were dissing them, and if they were i sure they had a reason or they could had been dissing all mainstream rappers at the time..

        But even in a interview i look up with quest its said people mistook the gooch for the roots.

      • Severe Thebeneficent

        true indeed. wordplay was critical back then so niggas used to sit and listen for the subliminals…Im just glad tariq and nas never went at it lol….

      • EL_BARK

        Ok your right.
        He does say “the gooch” but for ever even when i first heard it years ago. I thoughts he said the roots. But it was not do much the gooch part. It was what he said after that. Also i believe at that time black though had a freestyle on a radio station up there taking shots. ????

      • Severe Thebeneficent

        tariq was just NICE back in the day thats all I could really remember about them back then…Malik, dice raw and all them were nice too but black thought man whew! A different level! Ultimate EMCEE! he probably did throw a jab out there it was those times…mad competitive…nowadays niggas throw jabs on social media etc and the media takes it from there and makes it more than what it is sometimes…just like the case here with the “bad boy shot” headline, knowing damn well the roots dont “take shots”…bad boy was the top dogs and EVERYBODY was comin at them back then…that I remember…jeru, wu, boot camp clic, deathrow etc you name it all had said something at some point. Or either you were an artist who mimicked the bad boy sound and imagery…92-98 was a blur musically when you really think about it man…the youth dont get that part…we had TOO MUCH GOOD MUSIC, so much were still digesting and talking about it in 2013…

      • Of course I was rolling with Bad Boy…*Pre Quad

        That bad vibe did it for me.

      • Severe Thebeneficent

        just to chime in…and I hope what I say dont piss nobody off lol….the philly/ny shit had to do with the crack era…nothing to do with rap music rappers or “rap beef” as in todays sense…that shit didnt even EXIST back then lol…and as far as anything else, what was going on in NYC is no different than any other impoverished, low income, inner city of those times…its CONDITIONING not “rap beef” or radio beef or any of that bs…you can ask the same thing about cali, philly, chi town, miami, DC, Bmore etc etc…these are ALL URBAN CITIES where the crack epidemic hit hard in the 80s…everything else is an after affect, hip hop culture was BORN from this, NYC is 5 boroughs, thats like 5 urban cities in 1! you can still see the affects of the crack era in NY today! almost like skid row in Cali! its funny to niggas outside of NY with your youtube and worldstar but its real like that! is what it is, but its not just some ny is arrogant yadayadayada, NY is “arrogant” to niggas outside NY because THE CULTURE BEGAN IN NYC and new yorkers hold that shit dear to their hearts more than anybody else ever can or will! Theres a million storys that will never make it to youtube because you had to live it! Theres nothing thats gonna change that and most folks outside of NY cant stand it!! Understanding creates knowledge. knowledge is power. peace.

      • EL_BARK

        Actually i knew the streets side of it goes back to the drug era, & actually its goes back before crack, cause in the 60’s & 70’s it was a back & forth of ny cats ripping off philly cats & vice versa. Philly cats would get a line, & rip off the ny suppliers…

        I was talking more in the hip hop scence, also the arrogrants of new yorkers go far behind just the music scence. In my opinion. Its apply to the streets as well. But thats another topic. My point was you can go back to the late 80’s
        And cats like big daddy kane & a few others ny rappers had classic battles, that most people dont know about. But can be found on you tube. Jay to be in philly when he was running eith kane when jay came to philly to sign sigel & them he just aint pick philly out the blue. Then u had the newer generation from the url cats always at each other necks. From mook & cass to eness & mysonne just in general its a mutual dis like for each other…

        Yall get credit from starting hip hop but to be honest. Its didnt start in NYC with kool herc…. Its started in the hoods of urban cities everywhere…… New yorkers werent the only one, break dancing & be poping or tagging. Or throwing block parties.
        Thats waa going on everywhere. People in the 70’s used to hang on the corner & cypher….. Or spit or fo poetry…

  • johnblacksad

    “Can’t Stop This, I want my people to rock this
    Bang this music in your speakers and boxes
    Langston Hughes is about as a deep as my thoughts is
    Sit back and I’mma paint you a portrait
    Disgust can make you think that you’ve lost it
    This shit can have you exhausted
    Just, picture the planet and imagine it’s yours, kid
    Don’t ever let nobody knock you outta your orbit
    I never seen a bridge we couldn’t shuffle across it
    We got a lotta people livin’ a life, that’s pure trivia
    Real hip hop, and they tryin’a get rid of ya
    Can’t have that, because here come, the city of Philly
    Put an end to all the trivia really
    Where I’m walkin’ everybody ain’t pretty or friendly
    It’s work, my whole life they ain’t give me a penny
    Comin’ up between a rock and a hard, watchin’ for God
    People hip hopping with no option at all
    Yo … it’s how it’s goin’ down…”
    -The Roots “Can’t Stop This”… R.I.P. J.Dilla

  • Reblogged this on The Music Nerdvocate and commented:
    Well…OBVIOUSLYYY (lol), an RBMA lecture is too good to NOT reblog, so here it is!

  • johnblacksad

    “Yo, I’m never slipping/sleeping like I’m on meth-amphetamines
    Move like my enemy, ten steps ahead of me
    Say my reputation precedes me like a pedigree
    Gentlemanly gangsta steez beyond the seventies
    Holdin fast money without running out of patience
    Move in silence without running up in places
    Cake by the layers, rich but never famous
    Hustle anonymous, still remain nameless
    In hindsight, gold come in bars like a klondike
    The minute before the storm hit is what I’m calm like
    Suited and booted for a shooting like it’s prom night
    It’s suicide right, pursuers tried like
    To no avail and a heroes what they died like
    I’ve got em waiting on the news like I’m Cronkite
    Not in the lime light or needed for crime right
    No boasts, just bodied, chalked close to the line tight”

    -The Roots, “Kool On”… Black Thought should be on everybody’s list… dude is amazing with it…

  • johnblacksad

    Black Thought said :

    “This debonaire style of my words is high-calibre,
    Speakin my mind for everyday that’s on the calendar
    Cause I done been quiet for about as long as I can handle it
    Walked a mile in these boots that i’m standin in”

    One of the Most Valuable Poets on the M.I.C. like Big L!

  • johnblacksad

    to anybody that’s not familiar with The Roots… i suggest

    -Kool On


    Man what he say about the bad boy beef??
    I always wonder how thats beef started? I think black was on the radio in NY & diss them????

    • Golgo 13

      ye i thought all hihop was gonna put abit of wot he sed about bad boy instead of watching the vid

    • Severe Thebeneficent

      thats because allhiphop tricked the shit out of both of yall! he didnt even use the WORD beef, they did! He EXPLAINED something…wasnt even a beef… see what I mean ALL HIP HOP STAFF…words are powerful…but then again you already know this…

      • Yohance

        Where in the article do you see the word “beef”? The article says “‘civil war’ between the underground and the mainstream” which is exactly what Quest said when explaining his feelings about what was happening in Hip Hop at the time. It was also Quest who used the phrase “firing shots”. And yes it was mentioned in the article because it was a significant part of the conversation.

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    Corporations Conforming our Creations Contorting the Calculations (u know the science the math)
    Creativity is Crumbling Cats Cracked under pressure Catered to the Companies Careless marketing sChemes and fragile artist developmental stages dressed in the fabriCs of Corruption its time for the CONFRONTATION shared Culpability feel the Commotion our Communities lost like tsunami Covered lands laying under the oCean.. Killers kill Competitive over C-notes internal Combustion, we don’t C hope or heroes, industry forCing the hand of the Creators Cultivating with evil, its what they feeding our youth, the Construction of people with a week foundation on a uneven steep hill, bent on removing the wool over the eyes of the sheeple , still searching for Clarity, Cautiously straddling the line of insanity, I feel like a Culprit with their hands of injustiCe behind me, they wanna Cuff me and trap me in the Confines of medioCrity, CatastrophiC idioCracy running rampant amongst Civilization,
    its Clear Competition Cant Create nothing Compelling – far from raw – I Chill’m, Chip’m, Clip’m at the point of inCeption – form rips the Cordz.zz
    are you Catching the Clues im grasping the roots Channeling leaders and Champions of past, enduring the hardships outCast Cast off Casing the Castle of falsely Crowned kings Clones Clowns Clothed in apparels of modern day pharos who Claim to be HIM. The Creator the savior the alpha omega the leader to save us, from the fate of the slaughter of Cattle……

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  • Severe Thebeneficent

    smh did yall really put “firing shots at bad boy” in the headline? smh really? so you mean to tell me out of everything worth sensationalizing from such a wonderful interview…thats what you use? do you think by promoting drama thats the ONLY way people will read this article? its ?uestlove for crying out loud! what is it about his demeanor that you feel warrants you to even go there? That confuses the hell out of me! And on top of that he didnt “fire shots” he explained the roots position in the music industry at that time (1996) and the video “what they do” because of its mafioso mockery…and he was answering a question! The thirst, greed, and down right lust for hype within the culture is gut wrenching…at some point the media is gonna have to take ALL the weight for what yall are doing…you guys are just as much of the problem, if not MORE, as anything else you can conceptualize in hip hop or write articles about..

  • BullsFan4Life29

    Great interview.

  • BullsFan4Life29

    Quest Love is a brilliant talker. The man’s storytelling abilities are amazing.

  • digitallife

    Doubt this mans greatness? Listen to the roots you got me near the end the drum breakdown..all manual. Show me any 2 dudes in hip-hop not named Questlove that could keep that rhythm for one entire take without an mpc and i’ll call you a flat out liar.

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