With all the content that is online – on the hour, every hour – I have been struggling to keep up, especially on Instagram. Since D-Nice launched his Homeschool at Club Quarantine on March 21st, there has been explosion of musical experiences online. With the time differences between the south of Africa and the US, I have missed most of these. I just don’t have the energy that some friends have to sit up until the early hours of the morning… which also means I missed the Teddy Riley versus Babyface fiasco. I just caught the memes.
After the success of D-Nice’s IG livestream party – which continues to run – Questlove from the Legendary Roots Crew hosted a spinoff called #QuestLoversRock. I caught the last 30 minutes of the first one and was hooked. Granted, I am a Questlove fan. In my last email newsletter, I did write briefly about him and share some interesting links. He has a particular way that he curates and thinks about music that is so engaging, at least for me.
He is music fan who has been part of some amazing moments in music history, especially over the last 30 or so years. His book Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove, written with Ben Greenman gives you a long glance into the life he has lived so far and the music that has shaped that life. In some chapters, he literally lists songs and shares what was going on in his life around that time, what he loved about the song, etc.
I first bought Mo’ Meta Blues digitally but had to have a physical copy for my shelves. I also have his last book on creativity, Creative Quest, which I wrote a review on, HERE.
It also doesn’t hurt that Questlove is a lifelong Prince fan. As a 13/14 year old, I had a Purple Rain birthday party. Wore my favourite purple shirt.
What I am loving about Questlove’s approach to livestreaming is that it isn’t limited to Instagram and includes Twitch and YouTube. The beauty is I don’t have to sit up to listen live because the full recordings are available on The Roots’ YouTube channel. These have served as my work soundtrack for the last three weeks. He doesn’t just play music but will drop regular gems and insights into the songs, the musicians, the production, etc. For those of us who grew up reading the liner notes for cassettes and CDs, he is a kindred spirit.
The weekend of the April 17th, he did four Prince sets in a row which, at the time of writing this, I am still working my way through. And, while his sets to celebrate Q-Tip’s birthday (same day as mine) were dope AF, my favourite is still Questlove presents Bill Still, a tribute to the legendary singer, songwriter and man Bill Withers. He went deep into Withers’ discography, including covers and songs that sampled his music. By the way, there is also a beautiful documentary on Bill Withers called Still Bill.
If you want to get further insight into how Questlove thinks, especially about music, there are few better places than the interview he had with Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell on their podcast Broken Record.