Questlove Details Unreleased 'Chappelle's Show' Skit Inspired by Nas' "If I Ruled The World"
“Nelson Mandela was standing there, saying, ‘What the hell?'”
Centering on hip-hop’s dominance of big and little screen, both as the crux and general atmosphere of critically-adored shows and films, the group praises Atlanta and Insecure in building worlds within hip-hop’s already established ubiquity. For Donald Glover and Issa Rae, it’s more utility than subject matter, they’d plead. Other shows and films — The Breaks, The Get Down, and Straight Outta Compton — garner their appreciation for a more historical approach.
But the conversation begins with Questlove likening BET’s Tales to a concept for a Chappelle’s Show skit that never left the cutting room floor:
“Dave [Chappelle] wanted to make narrative stories out of hip-hop lyrics that, on their face, are just ridiculous. We developed one, based on Nas’s “If I Ruled the World,” where we took the line “I’d open every cell in Attica, send ‘em to Africa,” and built off that. The idea was that 2,000 prisoners in orange jumpsuits were getting off an airplane, and Nelson Mandela was standing there, saying, “What the hell?”’
Mandela, or at least Chappelle’s militant and oddly weed-friendly take on the icon, was amongst t the few characters who didn’t get the ax on the comedian’s Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live debut late last year.
Hit the link below to read the condensed digital version of the piece via The New York Times and pick up a copy in-hand this Sunday, November 12th.