?uestlove Answers Fans Questions For Latest ‘How Hip-Hop Failed Black America’ Article

1 of 3
  • the-roots_wide
  • questlove-fro-bowtie
    Getty Images
  • questlove-fro-hiphophonors
    Getty Images

?uestlove does have the answers.

The Roots drummer had the internets buzzing with his articles for Vulture entitled, “How Hip-Hop Failed Black America.” As can be expected after such an engaging series there are questions. With the fifth installment of this 6-part series,  Quest provides some clarity for readers on points he made.

The Roots’ 11th studio album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is available now.

Check a couple of the standout questions below.

But what about the millions of underground artists who are doing amazing things with the form?

Answer: First of all, there aren’t millions. There are some, and they should be supported. I like Black Milk, Killer Mike, Joey Badass, Danny Brown, and Chance the Rapper (among others), and I want their voices heard. But how influential are independent records, or local scenes? Again, take a look at the charts: When you get to the lower reaches of the top hundred, those albums are selling fewer than a thousand copies a week. Part of the problem is that record labels invest almost exclusively in proven winners. But there’s also the problem that hip-hop acts don’t have the same tradition of woodshedding, of putting in their time in out-of-the way places and hard-to-find spaces. Identities don’t get built slowly and steadily. They go quickly when they go at all. And so they disappear just as quickly.

Why’d you say Jay Z wasn’t cool?
Answer: Exasperated sigh. I’m not knocking Jay Z. I’m not knocking the hustle. I’ve been clear about this before, but people want to muddy the waters, so let me be clear again. All I’m saying is that the culture needs more. It needs art to go with its commerce. It needs existential inquiry to go with its brick-brained blockbusters. In most of the culture, options have narrowed, and like I said a question ago, alternatives have shrunk to the point where the might as well not exist. Rather, they’ve proliferated, but the effect of any one is a blip at best. They’re littler than Little Cat Z. So put that in your Seuss hat.

[Vulture]