Last week, the Legendary Roots Crew accompanied Nicki Minaj for a special showcase at the Best Buy Theater in New York City—as a kickoff event to launch the newly released camera, Casio Tryx. While an army of Minaj fans huddled into the showroom with their pink wigs, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson hurriedly entered the building flaring his signature afro. Coming right off a taping for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, Questo, the iconic drummer of hip-hop’s greatest band The Roots, was in a rush, but spoke calmly as ever.
VIBE caught up with the Philly native, as he shared his views regarding Minaj as an artist, The Roots’ musical involvement on the Fallon show, and Mister Cee’s recent alleged tirade. — Jaeki Cho
VIBE: How did The Roots get involved with this Casio campaign?
?uestlove: Uh, they asked us if we’re interested [Laughs]. Whether or not the money, we have to be interested in the project first.
What are your thoughts on Nicki Minaj as an artist?
She’s cool. We have the same management. I’ve known her even before she had a record deal.
Do you think The Roots’ association with her might bring some flack from your die-hard fan base?
I’m 40 years old, dawg [Laughs]. Even Okayplayers go out on us. We’re beyond that. We’re 20-years in the game. I don’t pay attention to that at all. And I don’t think there’s a rulebook for hip-hop anymore. They’re damn near none existent. The only people that believe such a thing exists are those who are in denial of where hip-hop is right now.
Then is collaboration between Nicki Minaj and The Roots a possibility?
We’re open to anything. The whole Roots M.O. has been collaboration since the beginning of time. There’s no one that’s so mighty and above who we can’t do shit with. We’ve done shit with Jay-Z, and we’ve done shit with Wayne. We’ve done crazy shit with people.
Do you guys have a say in picking the musical acts for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?
Not a say. They come to us sometimes, and ask us, “What you think about this? What you think about that?” If there’s someone I’m really feeling, I come to them like, “Yo, you got to look out for him or her.” They have a person who does musical booking.