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• AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM BLAG.LONDON •

 

Questlove On Why The Roots

(Will Always) Matter

 

INTERVIEW AND ART DIRECTION: SALLY A. EDWARDS

PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH J. EDWARDS

LOCATION: WEST END AND HAMMERSMITH, LONDON

Questlove unveils some serious truths about The Roots to Sally A. Edwards in a hilarious undercover conversation, recorded on the down low at one of London’s swankiest restaurants. He discloses facts about The Tipping Point, his informative guide to hugging, natural breath fresheners and how Okay Player really came about.

The original story was first published in BLAG Vol. 2 Nø 2 print edition in 2005. Read an exclusive excerpt here

 

 

*

 

THE HUMAN FORM OF THE TRUTH SERUM

 

“Anyway, where were we, Ahmir?”

 "Let me just say first, you and your sister are… you are the human form of the truth serum. Only in this magazine will I truly give the real answers and not my contrived journalistic answers.”

 “Well, that's a wonderful thing. So, what is the theory behind the title of your album?”

 "It's the PC version of 'Get Rich, Or Die Trying'."

 “It's taken from a novel isn't it? Can you tell us a little about it?”

 "OK. The novel was written by Malcolm Gladwell and it discussed his theories on how a small idea can lead onto a bigger phenomenon. And being as though…"

 “… there's no certain way it tips?”

 

"Let me just say first, you and your sister are… you are the human form of the truth serum. Only in this magazine will I truly give the real answers and not my contrived journalistic answers.”

 

 "It neither skewers left or right, but it grows, it expands. It expands like a sphere. I think with us, the true observation of what makes us work..." Ahmir pauses. "I've made two observations. One: The Roots are the only black band with a major label recording deal from the United States. We're the only black band. The only group of black musicians in pop music that has a major label recording deal. And, we do not have one dance hit and we're a rap group… 12 years and no dance hit, but we're still here and you know, I was just having one of those ‘whys?'. "You know, 'Why is this working?'. I mean it could be half full or half empty and I didn't want to say, ‘Well, why haven't we blown up?'. I'm just like, 'Why are we still here?', 'Why do we still matter?'… because we’re against everything. We're fundamentally against what hip hop says that you're supposed to do. And that's when my manager hit me to Malcolm Gladwell's book in which he said, 'You guys sort of spread like a germ without major hype, without a label cramming it down your throat, without the radio stations playing you umpteen times. So, that's the theory behind 'The Tipping Point'. But really I named it so you could ask me why did I name it 'The Tipping Point'? See this is how a good artist is. If he can come up with an angle…" Ahmir pauses once more and brings another ?uestlove fact to our attention: Most journalists will ask seven questions. If you ever leave it up to a journalist to conduct your story, you're in trouble. So what you have to do is create questions. Yeah, I'm telling you the truth again… Hey, my publicist tapped me on my shoulder, I've got to wrap it up in 15 minutes," he laughs.

 

Ahmir is referring to some of the previous experiences we've had at BLAG.

 

 "Hahaha! It's funny. No, I'm just making an observation that all your cover subjects' publicists don't know that you’re the greatest magazine ever.”

 

*

 

Follow Questlove at www.twitter.com/questlove and www.instagram.com/questlove

 

The full conversation and photography gallery is available for subscribers to BLAG.london

 

For more BLAG premium content: long-reads and photography galleries, subscribe to BLAGmagazine.com and our deluxe content experience at BLAG.london

 

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Original Story © BLAG 2005

Edit © BLAG 2018

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