?uestlove peels back the layers to reveal Michael Jackson at his most vulnerable in a chat with Vanity Fair for The Snobs Dictionary – the series from David Kamp that delves into the minds of some of culture’s biggest snobs to get their expert advice and commentary. While the term snob is used a bit loosely, the encyclopedic musical knowledge ?uesto possesses leaves him more than qualified to stunt if he should ever feel inclined to do so. In this episode he talks to VF about his thought process as a self-professed music nerd, from his approach to DJing to his work as a professor at NYU, where he sought to guide students to a place of authenticity and genuine openness in the act of listening.
One of the tools he employed to make his point was a series of takes from Michael Jackson’s recording of “She’s Out Of My Life” – the track from Off The Wall that details his first heartbreak. In the footage ?uestlove describes the visceral and emotionally vulnerable tone of the recording as Michael Jackson breaks down in the studio, sniffling and apologizing his way through the last of the lyrics. At the exact moment that ?uestlove pulls all of the orchestration out of the mix, the students are able to hear Michael Jackson outside of his role as an icon and arguably the greatest entertainer to ever grace a stage, instead viewing him for the first time in their lives as a human being. Check the footage below to get the full scoop from ?uestlove. Scroll down to watch the video for “She’s Out Of My Life” from Michael Jackson.