Questlove is a legend in the game, having experienced a long and fruitful career holding it down as the drummer of The Roots. And being that he's been active for decades now, it's no wonder he's built up an impressive repertoire of tales and anecdotes ranging from his time in the game.
We've already heard him break down why emcees were straight-up terrified of getting on a track with Black Thought, and now, Quest has offered further wisdom during a substantial conversation with Mark Ronson on THE FADER Uncovered. While there's much to unpack, one of the interesting moments arrives when Ronson inquires about The Tipping Point, prompting Quest to reflect on MCA Records "implosion" and the unlikely role Dr. Dre played in saving The Roots from the culling.
"So as promised, MCA imploded," explains Quest, at approximately the fifty-three-minute mark. "We were without an island. The way that I heard the story went down was Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine had a breakfast meeting. Jimmy basically let Dre control the MCA guillotine. Okay, who do we save? Who don’t we save? I remember, eight of us got saved: Mary, Common. I remember our name being last on that list. So, it was like, “Phew.” The way that the email came to us is like that high school musical, you look to see if you made the part."
Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images"Because that was a question like, “Okay, so where do all the MCA acts go?” And then around February, we heard a rumor that they’re going to have a meeting to decide the future of who they’re going to save and who they’re not going to save. It was like, “Did I make it? Did I make it?” Yeah, they’ll have an official statement in March. And then come March, they said, the following acts will be transferring to Geffen-Interscope. We were last. I was like, “Phew!” And then I asked around. I was like, “What happened?” That’s when I found out that Dre knew and liked us. Wait, Dre insisted that they save The Roots? Wow."
Having been hand-picked by Dre, The Roots were given the chance to transfer from MCA to Geffen-Interscope. Unfortunately, Jimmy Iovine did not appear to be the biggest fan of their music, with Quest implying that he wasn't sure what to do with them. He did, however, appreciate "Don't Say Nuthin," which ultimately led the band to pursue a new -- and not necessarily inspired-- direction. "That’s the first and the last time I’ll ever create an album specifically for someone’s taste," reflects Quest. "I’m not trying to say that Tipping Point’s my redheaded stepchild."
Check out the full conversation with Ronson below, courtesy of The FADER.