?uestlove of the Roots recently caught up with CBS News to discuss his group’s work as the official band of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” During the interview, the Legendary Roots Crew’s drummer recalled some words of wisdom Jay-Z gave him when the group signed to Def Jam in 2005. Hova explained to ?uest that he envied the group’s ability to make more artistically inclined and that he didn’t want to force the Philadelphia band to sell out by signing to the house of Russell Simmons.
“[Jay-Z] didn’t want to be known as the bad guy that killed the Roots,” ?uest explained. “I told Jay, ‘Like man, that would be nice to have all my records debut at No. 1 and stuff.’ But he’s like, ‘Yeah, but you’re just looking at that. I got to deal with beef with this cat and that cat. Every year some rapper’s going to take a potshot and I got to take the gloves out the closet and start training’…[he] sees me as an artist making my dream come true. Like, he wants to be seen as a true artist, not the richest guy in hip-hop. Meanwhile, I would like 13 zeros in my account.”
In addition, ?uestlove discussed how he almost formed a super group with late songstress Amy Winehouse. He explained the he and Winehouse would regularly talk shop about jazz, and that one day, she suggested that they link up with Yasiin Bey and Raphael Saadiq for a super group.
“She’s such a jazz snob. I couldn’t stand it, but I was obsessed with it because once we exchanged information, she would always be on her computer sending me MP3s [like], ‘Listen to this,'” he recalled. “We spent a lot of time on Skype talking about crazy ideas and she schooled me about Sarah Vaughan. I schooled her about J Dilla. And she was like, ‘All right, we’re going to start a super group. You, me, Mos [Def] and Raphael Saadiq.’ I was like, ‘OK.’ And she assigned homework: ‘All right, study this record’…I really miss not having her here to school me on jazz; I thought I was a music snob, and I thought I had my doctorate in jazz, but no. There’s so much more I could have learned. She’s a teacher.”