The Questions: Questlove on The Roots' Bucket-Drumming Beginnings
Questlove on how a Spike Lee commercial inspired The Roots’ early busking days
Last month, Questlove joined a New Orleans busker in an impromptu curbside performance that found The Roots drummer in rare, but familiar territory. In today’s installment of a special five-part stretch of The Questions, Questo reveals how a case of mistaken identity finally brought The Roots out of the ground and into the industry garden by way of buckets, pans, and a Levi’s commercial.
Speaking on the 25th anniversary (to the day) of the formation of The IllaFifth Dynasty, Questlove shares the full sequence to the historic South Street performances; catching a train back from NYC with Black Thought after a Julliard audition, running into the woman that inquired as to whether he was “Chocolate,” the bucket-drummer from a Spike Lee-directed ad-spot, the pull to grab their own kitchen utensils and follow suit after seeing that very commercial during an episode of Soul Train. And so, it was written: the most prolific performers in hip-hop history (creeping up on music’s all-time list with ease) caught the spark from a one-minute profile on an NYC bucket-drummer by Uncle Spike.
Watch Questlove tell the whole tale in the clip below and tune in tomorrow for the third part in the series.