Questlove of The Roots SXSW
Questlove of The Roots SXSW
Photo Credit: Vickey Ford of Sneakshot Photography

Questlove Speaks on J Dilla's Final Days, Losing Inspiration to Make Music After His Death

Questlove of The Roots SXSW Photo Credit: Vickey Ford of Sneakshot Photography

Questo opens up about J Dilla's passing, the toll it took on his work, and his final gift from the pioneering producer.

On Friday, Questlove joined ASCAP chairman, Paul Williams, at the I Create Music expo in Hollywood for a candid chat. But it didn't take long for it to strike an aspirational note. According to Billboard, Questo recounted his many recording triumphs, but stopped short of raising anything to the level of his work on D'Angelo's Voodoo or anything the late J Dilla ever touched.

When it came to his work with Dilla, The Roots drummer detailed the daily regiments of the pioneering producer; waking with the sun, listening to records for the first few hours of the day, and piecing together new chops in his brain. He'd cap most days by returning to tracks he'd begun earlier in the week, bringing his workflow full-circle.

Questlove went on to discuss the producer's final days, visiting him in the hospital only to find him in a wheelchair. But despite his body's "near vegetable state," Quest recalls how "his brain and his fingers were still creating these miracles musically." Following the producer's death in 2006, Quest echoed a sentiment shared by many of Dilla's peers. "I stopped making music. Unless it was a Roots album, I pretty much had stopped working and collaborating with other people."

Dilla's final gift to the Soulquarian drummer: a Brazilian pressing of a Stevie Wonder album he'd long coveted.