The Soulquarians, the alternative hip-hop music collective founded by The Roots‘ Questlove, D’Angelo, James Poyser, And J Dilla, is the focus of a new short video.
Created by Pitchfork, the six minute video tells the story of how the Soulquarians came about while Questlove and D’Angelo were working on the latter’s next album, Voodoo, at Electric Lady Land. As the duo were working on the album, Quest then also moved recording of The Roots’ album, Things Fall Apart, to Electric Lady.
The sessions captured the attention of a number of like-minded artists including Raphael Saadiq, Q-Tip, and DJ Premier, while Quest brought in Common and Erykah Badu to work on their own albums at Electric Lady as well. From there, Poyser and Dilla also became a part of the collective, with the core group working on D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun simultaneously.
Although the Soulquarians would go on to create gold and platinum records and work with the likes of Jill Scott, Bilal, and Slum Village, the collective came to an end following the release of a profile story on the group in the September 2000 issue of Vibe.
Initially, the story was just supposed to be on Quest. But being uncomfortable with the focus solely on him he brought the Soulquarians onboard too. Unfortunately, once the story came out, Quest started to receive calls from collaborators who took offense to the article suggesting that they worked for him.
“The Soulquarians shined brightest as a constellation, a legacy that will continue to burn long after their individual light is extinguished,” a voiceover concludes the video with.