Nine Poppy Picks From ?uestlove's Non-Rap Productions

Categories: Lists, The Roots


?uestlove's stock is at an all-time high. His stint as house band-leader on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon was recently complimented by a profile in The New Yorker; you might even peep his face on subway billboards around the city as he clocks up his Sonos endorsement money. Tonight he'll be spinning at one of his regular Bowl Train shindigs at the Brooklyn Bowl--a night where he's known to stray from airing out the sort of hip-hop he makes with the Roots to delve through his eclectic crates. With that in mind, here's a bunch of notable selections from ?uesto's (vast) non-rap vault, as both producer and drum-master-for-hire.

See also:
- Q&A: Booker T. Jones On His First Visit To New York, Scoring Films, And What Working With Kanye West Might Be Like
- Amy Winehouse, R.I.P.
- The Roots' Walk-On Music For Michele Bachmann Was Ha-Ha Funny, But...

More »

The Top 13 Hip-Hop Songs For Summer

Free lunch, fire hydrants on full blast and beach chairs on the sidewalk—yep, the summer's here Need a hand composing a playlist to go along with a hot and lazy day's activities? Just in time for the official start of summer (and today's 90-plus temperatures), SOTC has put together a list of the best songs we like to hear while poolside, seaside, passenger-side, or just sitting in front of a fan watching Do The Right Thing. (No, "Hot In Herre" is not on the list.) Drums, please...

More »

How The Internet Is Going To Kill "Call Me Maybe"

It's nearly impossible to definitively pinpoint the moment when a phenomenon hits its saturation point. Thanks in no small part to the internet's insistence on not only "more," but also "now," we as consumers live in an era where there are more opportunities to kill the things we love even faster, and with only the click of a mouse. But it was possible to target something of a tipping point with "Call Me Maybe," Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen's inescapable hit that is most definitively the proud owner of the coveted title of Song of the Summer, 2012. Said tipping point came last week, in the form of click-baiting little headlines suggesting that the Crooner-In-Chief had finally succumbed to the will of the American people and taken on their favorite summer jam.

More »

Live: The Roots, Living Colour, And Others Pay Tribute To Jimi Hendrix At SummerStage

Adam Macchia
SummerStage Honors the Music of Jimi Hendrix
Central Park SummerStage
Tuesday, June 5

Better than: Exercising, which is apparently what you're supposed to be doing in Central Park.

Hendrix was really into covers—his live sets were littered with songs by Cream ("Sunshine of Your Love"), Dylan ("Like a Rolling Stone"), the Beatles ("Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), and Howlin' Wolf ("Killing Floor")—so it always feels in the spirit of the Experienced One to kick out his jams. On the other hand, it's a bit redundant to do Jimi; the man's influence as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and fashion icon is still so widespread that everyone's already sort of performing Jimi all the time anyway. In any event, any event devoted to the music of James Marshall Hendrix is sure to at least be fun, and SummerStage Honors the Music of Jimi Hendrix, a Michael Dorf-produced fundraising gala to keep SummerStage's other shows free, was no exception.

More »

Matzo Balls And Disco Balls: Pairing Great GoogaMooga's Food And Music Offerings

This weekend Prospect Park will host Great GoogaMooga, a festival that brings together some of New York's best restaurants and musicians from New York (disco technicians Escort; bouncy Brooklyn rockers Fort Lean) and outside the city (Saturday's headlined by the hip-hop polyglots The Roots, while Sunday will be closed out by Daryl Hall & John Oates). How should you plan your day so that your foodstuffs are well matched to the on-stage entertainment? Here's the Sound of the City/Fork in the Road guide to suggested pairings for this weekend.

More »

Q&A: Questlove On Artistic Freedom, "Shuffle Culture," And Spreading The Springsteen Gospel

Anthony Pugh
In a recent tweet responding to a follower's assertion that he was a celebrity, the drummer and head Root Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson demurred, claiming he was merely "a personality." The follower had a point, though; according to a website devoted to Quest's blogs about meeting famous people, for instance, the man has gone on dates with Natalie Portman, turned down a European tour with Justin Timberlake, and napped in Spike Lee's office. But what's not up for debate is how he got to wherever he is. A brief tangle with Michele Bachmann supporters notwithstanding, Questlove has risen to fame on the strength of his drumming, which can be heard on D'Angelo's Voodoo, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, Common's Like Water for Chocolate, Jay-Z's Unplugged, and Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine, not to mention thirteen albums by the Roots. By staying impossibly funky and perilously behind the beat, he has boom-bapped his way into the ears and, with his high-profile stint as Paul Shaffer to Jimmy Fallon's David Letterman, eyes of the mainstream. "Shuffle Culture," running this Thursday and Friday at BAM, should only bolster his ascent.

As one might assume, Questlove is an especially fun interview. In the Voice this week, we talk about everything from Back to the Future to Lorne Michaels; here, we pinball from Sun Ra to Sesame Street. Drummers, it is often said, have the best seat in the house; in the case of Questlove, he's also got the best stories.

More »

12 Tracks, Two And A Half Hours: Sound Of The City's Mixtape Of Long Rap Songs

The saga continues... for 10:24.
Last week, the new Gorillaz track "DoYaThing" dropped. It's long—a full 13-minutes and some seconds of music, a lot of which involves Andre 3000 getting frenzied and inspired with that rapping thing he does so well. With "DoYaThing" and persistent talk about Outkast reunion rumors bedazzling up the Internet, it seems like an apt prompt to get all expansive and cobble together the world's longest rap mixtape.

But first some rules! We're imposing a ten-minute minimum threshold. In the interests of listenability, we're also nixing any freestyles (sorry Game and your "300 Bars," and Weezy and your alleged "10,000 Bars"), and we're abiding by the rule of keeping it moving so the playlist spans hip-hop's growth and doesn't just dwell in a pool of lengthy old-school rap tracks (not that doing so wouldn't result in a very fine mixtape). We're also being curmudgeonly and overlooking anything that drifts into the realm of the ridiculous, like Canibus's 45-minute "Poet Laurette Infinity"—after all, if you're making your way through an artisanal 12-course tasting menu, the last thing you want is Canibus's rancid, oversized pulled-pork sandwich tampering with the delicate balance of your seared scallops with morels in a balsamic reduction sauce. In the interests of playlist culture maximization (and further clogging up your iPod), here's the world's greatest longest 12-track rap mixtape.

More »

Live: VH1 Brings Out The Divas At The Hammerstein Ballroom

via VH1
VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul
Hammerstein Ballroom
Sunday, December 18

Better than: Whatever Ryan Seacrest is going to cook up for VH1 Soul.

Last night's VH1 Divas taping existed both as a performance and self-contained, 24-hours-out advertising opportunity for its broadcast. (Tonight at 9 ET!) TV tapings are always strange to experience first-hand, given the way they're designed for after-the-fact consumption; there are lots of long lulls in the action for the purposes of commercial breaking/set redesigning, and in "let's all get together and put on a show" scenarios like this one there are TelePrompTers with lyrics ready to assist the under-rehearsed. Despite the breaks and assists, though, this taping didn't have the hermetically sealed feeling of ones I attended during the pre-social-media era—people were encouraged to tweet and Foursquare check-in and let their pals on social media know what they were experiencing via corporately provided hashtag. In the 21st century, after all, all publicity is.

The night's bent toward soul meant that most of the acts on the bill had pipes and cred—Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Martha Reeves, and Wanda Jackson represented for the pre-music-video era, while the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Jennifer Hudson were among the new-schoolers. Jessie J's tireless, apparently unending promotional campaign also continued here; her new party trick involves her stuttering out words instead of singing them in toto, a tic that serves to both illuminate the bleatiness of her voice and make her seem even more malleable and annoying. She's the opposite of a diva, her jet-black-dyed artifice doing a miserable job of covering up the void within; I expect either a turn to Christian rock or the "mysterious" leak of a sex tape within the next 12 months.

More »

Amy Winehouse's Top Ten Hip-Hop Collaborations

Rappers loved Amy Winehouse. The British warbler might not have collaborated with rap chaps to the extent that Mary J Blige has, but when she passed away earlier this year she did so leaving behind a discernible trail of hip-hop goodies. And the songs suggest there was a genuine bond and shared mentality between Winehouse and her rap suitors, unlike many a cobbled-together rapper-meets-singer tryst.

The posthumous project Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which has input from longtime Winehouse producer Salaam Remi and guest spots from Nas and ?uestlove, comes out this week. Here are Winehouse's ten most persuasive dalliances with the rap world.

More »

The Roots' Walk-On Music For Michele Bachmann Was Ha-Ha Funny, But...

Monday night the Republican Presidential candidate and frequent source/target of Photoshop japery Michele Bachmann appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in an effort to promote both her autobiography and her appearance at last night's Presidential debate. As a rebuke to the Minnesota congresswoman's somewhat slippery relationship with the truth, Fallon's house band the Roots—who aren't always into shying from making a "why is this person even here?" counterpoint with their choice of introductory music—decided to dust off an old chestnut by the skacore pioneers Fishbone as she walked onstage. "Aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake," ?uestlove tweeted before the show aired Monday. "ask around cause i aint tweeting title."

More »