Questlove is easily one of the most fascinating figures in modern music, always sharing interesting opinions on cultural movements and supporting his fellow musicians in different ways. He's also a master of television, performing with The Roots on The Tonight Show and more recently signing on as executive producer of SoundClash, a new show helmed by VH1 and Palladia. Inspired in part by the classic music programming he grew up on, Questlove has sought out the help of Fall Out Boy, Ed Sheeran, T.I. and more to perform stripped-down versions of their massive hits on the new show.
In a recent interview with Time, the prolific drummer opened up about SoundClash, some of pop's biggest names and the power of the classic cover. Check out some of the best quotes below.
"Beyonce is one of these types of artists that is in such a sweet spot. She owns this decade. I wake up in the morning and look online, okay, on Gawker, blah blah is covering 'Halo.' She’s just one of those artists that’s magnetic like that. Even if it’s done in a silly notion, it speaks to her power."
On Iggy Azalea and hip-hop appropriation:
"You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that 'Fancy,' above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.
"I’m not going to lie to you, I’m torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I’mma let Iggy be Iggy. It’s not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I’m in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I’ll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect — I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, “Fancy” is the song of the summer."
On Sia and anti-stardom:
"It’s kind of weird, her quest for anti-stardom and her method of doing it is actually bringing her more attention than not doing it."
On artists covering over artists:
"We live in a viral society. A lot of that is done for the irony. When you do something ironic, it gets a viral response. When Alanis Morissette did 'My Humps'? It was sort of that response. It’s also passive aggressive and mean-spirited. The thing is, you’re doing it for humorous intent. If you had one chance in life to really put your best foot forward, you’re going to sing that song that you’re really known for. Some people do it just so they can lift the veil on themselves. That’s why [The Roots] did The Tonight Show. So many people were looking at us like, 'God, you guys are so damn serious all the time. Are you guys even human?' So I felt like doing The Tonight Show allows us to be human. Maybe people do ironic cover songs as a way to show that they’re human. I want people to do it because, 'This is an influence.' Watching Jack White sing 'Jolene' or watching Christina Aguilera sing 'I Will Always Love You,' that, to me, is a serious form of showing where your roots come from."