It’s a well-established fact that Roots drummer Questlove is a Prince superfan. The leader of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon house band has expressed his love for the late rock icon dozens of times over the years, but on Tuesday night’s (Apr. 24) show, the avowed crate-digging music nerd faced the ultimate test when host Jimmy Fallon put him in the hot seat for the latest edition of a game he called the “One-Second Prince Song Quiz.”
Quest walked across the stage from his usual perch behind the kit to promote his just-released book of insight he’s gained from colleagues and inspirations over the years, titled Creative Quest. And he seemed supremely chill when Fallon winced at what he called the handful of “deep cuts” on the list. The drummer correctly guessed “Raspberry Beret” with just a brief snippet of the rhythm, proving that he had this quiz in the bag.
Hands in his pockets, Quest then ran the table, snagging “Baby, I’m a Star” from just a brief keyboard wind-up, “Gett Off” and “Alphabet Street” from signature Prince screams, “Mountains” off merely a half second of drums and “Under the Cherry Moon” in a quarter second of noise, really.
Quest also broke down one of his other side hustles: being a celebrity DJ. A meticulous preparer and ardent believer in Malcolm Gladwell’s dictum about putting in your 10,000 hours to master a craft, he talked about the four months of preparation that went into a dream DJ gig in early 2016. “Sixteen weeks of doing every combination of BPMs and the key of the song and all of that stuff [for a] six-hour DJ gig,” he told Fallon.
“So, first hour into it, I think I’m killin’ it. And my host taps me on the shoulder and I’m trying to ignore him…I thought it was just someone saying, ‘Hey man, play Rick Astley!'”
Without mentioning the host’s name, Quest then went into what sounded suspiciously like a Barack Obama impression, mimicking how the former president praised his skills, but wondered if he could lay off the classic disco and calypso and play something for his kids, who were standing off to the side with their arms crossed. “So, pep it up!” the host told him.
“It forced me into retirement,” Quest lamented, recalling how he frantically began googling what songs teenagers like, essentially turning into the kind of corny party DJ he hates.
Watch the videos below.