While appearing on the Juan Epstein podcast, musician Questlove detailed the status of The Roots‘ relationship with The Notorious B.I.G. around the time of his death. According to Quest, prior to the release of Biggie’s Life After Death album, things were “not all good” between The Roots and the Brooklyn, New York lyricist.
He later revealed that prior to their spat, Biggie was the group’s biggest champion. Questlove then explained that their fallout began when their “What They Do” music video was released. He says the end result for the video made it look like the visual was poking fun of Biggie’s “One More Chance” when it was only meant to serve as a sarcastic look at “champagne culture.”
“So, right around the time when Life After Death was just about to come out it was not all good between The Roots and Biggie…We was always good,” Questlove said in a video posted on XXLMag.com. “Biggie was like our biggest champion. When he did Ego Trip magazine he championed us and Jeru higher than anyone. He put Brooklyn onto The Roots. So, we did this ‘What They Do’ video. And it’s sort of like a sarcastic look at what was then becoming champagne culture…We told the director we don’t want to do a direct reference to someone’s video. We just talking about the impending lurking of this new–At the time it seemed like the new apartheid. The have-nots versus the haves. So, we didn’t know based on the way the set looked. We didn’t know we were doing a direct reference to ‘One More Chance.’ So, when we saw the final cut…They showed it to us and I was like ‘Oh, damn.’ But it was too late…Of course he caught feelings.”
After comments Biggie made in The Source about being “disrespected” by The Roots, Questlove chose to pen an op-ed for the publication when asked for a quote from The Source. Biggie was killed the day after Quest chose to write his op-ed.
“The Source hits me up on March 8th to do a quote,” he said. “And I was like ‘Well.’ I said, ‘I don’t wanna do a quote. Can I do an op-ed? Cause I really want to explain the position’…I wrote this beautiful manifesto. It was like a 1,000 pages. Faxed it to The Source. Literally, I called The Source. It took me 10 hours to do it. Proofread it. It was great. Called The Source and said ‘Okay, I’m ready to send the response-to-Biggie op-ed.’ And they’re like ‘Oh God, you didn’t hear what happened did you?’ And I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ They said ‘Biggie’s dead.’ And that killed me. I never made it right.”
Questlove was also joined by actor/comedian Chris Rock during his appearance on the Juan Epstein podcast. Rock spoke on his contribution to Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy record, “Blame Game.”
“Greatest Hip Hop album of all time,” Chris Rock said. “Kanye West is a genius…I’m gonna say I was in the booth for about two hours. No man, he was just throwing shit at me. And ‘Try this, try that. Try this. Come out here.’ He snapped it all together. Called me about two weeks later…He was feeding me with ideas and I would just run with it. It’s a great song.”