Questlove Speaks on Why Dilla was the G.O.A.T. + 1-Hour Tribute Mix!
If you happened to be stuck in traffic in NYC around noon today (or following @okayplayer on twitter), the god of sample-flipping was smiling on you. That's because our own afro-rocking overlord ?uestlove was invited to hold down Mr. Cee's Old School at Noon slot on the infamous radio station Hot97 as part of a series Cee calls "Black Fist Fridays"--and dedicated the entire hour to the productions of J Dilla, who would have celebrated his birthday on Tuesday and lost his struggle with the deadly disease lupus six years ago today. He also spoke to XXL Mag extensively about what made Dilla the greatest rap producer of all time (Questo's words but, yes, I am printing it as if it were an indisputable fact) from the big picture to the specific moments that made some of our favorite records. Stream or download the mix--which contains all sorts of unreleased goodies teased throughout--below (via Miss Info), peep a choice quote and then read the full interview at XXL.
The day after he recorded “Think Twice,” for Welcome to Detroit, I look at the drum set, and I was like, “Wait, you recorded that on this?” And it was the most dingiest, dirtiest, not even second-hand. [It] looked like the Fat Albert junkyard gang drum set. Screws were missing; some of the heads were broken. Matter of fact, he didn’t even use real drumsticks on “Think Twice.” He used a vibraphone mallet, and he had a broken drumstick that he got some toilet paper from the bathroom, and some rubber bands. I was like, “You would rather go through this MacGuyver shit than buy new drumsticks?” He’s like, “I didn’t know where to get ’em this late at night; I had to make due.” I was like, “Well, why did you hit the drums with the mallet?” He was like, “I didn’t want the dynamic to be too aggressive. I wanted to sound muted, so I decided to play the drums with the soft cotton mallet.” It looked like putting a marshmallow at the end of a toothpick [Laughs]. Next thing I know, I’m now flying to Philadelphia—I think the next week, [to work on] The Roots’ Phrenology record [and] I tracked both “Quills” and “Pussy Galore” the same way. I went and got some orchestra mallets, and then I too started, just ’cause I seen how he got that sound.