OKP TV: Watch Questlove Rap (!?) Live On The Roots "The Lesson Pt. 1"
Questlove put down the drumsticks (well, okay, technically he put down one drumstick for most of the time) to grip the mic and spit a few bars during a rare (one of a kind?) rap interlude during a recent live performance of The Roots classic "The Lesson Pt. 1." The bars in question were actually Dice Raw's "missing in action like dads in the projects" verse--in its entirety--from the Do You Want More!????!!? standout, rhymes Questlove has nuff reason to know by heart at this point, from WHOOP! to cra-crack! and every ad-lib and interjection along the way. But the main takeaway is not that Questlove has lines like "I got so much soul / with lyrics high to make n**gas stop, drop & roll..." permanently ingrained into his brainframe. Hell, every serious Roots fan probably does. The takeaway is: wait...Questlove can rap!?
Yup. It doesn't hurt to have everybody's Top 5 MC Black Thought punching in at the end of every line but there is no mistaking that Questo is rapping like he means it, showing he's got some breath control in addition to metronome timing. But the real revelation comes at about 2:22, when instead of spitting the appointed line (and post-structuralist shout out to self): "Don't ask me honey I'm not the one for stressin / If you wanna know better ask BR.O.Th.e.R Question / Cause he know the time like I know the time..." the brother in question indulges in a little spontaneous freestyle action: "I know the time; it's time for bed / That's what I said / I'm freestylin on the mic / I can't believe it, never repeat it / I'm Black Thought--psyche! / my name is Questlove and I'm rhymin' up above / what the fuck am I doin', I...uh...boom-bap...scat / you take it, then I take it right back..." and so on, until he achieves the desired effect...which is causing the ever-calm, cool and collected Black Thought to crack the fuck up.
It's all in the friends-n-fam spirit of the annual Roots Jam (where this was recorded). Watch the whole, historic MC moment unfold below. And if we take Questo at his (last) word on the mic ("You will never ever see this again in your lifetime...") then it's no exaggeration to say: it's rather unique:
Videographers: Lance Steagall + Jake Remington (Collabo!)
Editor: Jake Remington
Producer: Ginny Suss
(Photo by Mel D. Cole)