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May 02, 2019

Questlove on Kanye West's rise to fame: 'This is it for me'

During the Tribeca Film Festival 'Storytellers' panel, The Roots drummer reveals he was in awe of the hip-hop star's early performances

Entertainment Questlove
Questlove Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Questlove walking on the 2019 Oscars red carpet at the 91st Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre located at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, California on Feb. 24, 2019.

During a talk at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, Philly musician Questlove revealed that he always felt Kanye West's success would surpass his own.

During the "Storytellers" talk on Tuesday, Questlove said while performing for the 2005 documentary film "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," which featured artists like The Roots, Kanye, John Legend, Common, and Jill Scott, he realized that West was going to be a big star in the hip-hop and rap communities.


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Here's his entire statement on Kanye's breakout performance in "Block Party," via Page Six.

"I knew it wasn’t going to last forever and so there was this moment I describe in which we were sound checking Kanye’s moment for ‘Jesus Walks,'” he said. “Kanye was the only figure in that particular film that wasn’t in the original nucleus of the fable … and so even at soundcheck, he had such an energy about him, a new energy about him, that just brought the audience alive. And then as I was drumming, I was like, ‘Oh no.’ It was like a Sixth Sense moment. Like, ‘I’m dead!’ Like, ‘This is it for me. Like I’m no longer the spiritual epicenter of this clique. He’s about to be.”

Here is the performance in question of "Jesus Walks" from the documentary that featured the live Central State University marching band.

West's first album "College Dropout" was released in February 2004, just before his appearance in Chappelle's documentary. Questlove said when the album came out, he thought, "This is where I go to die." 

He later said that he learned to enjoy all of the small successes throughout his career and "got a new lease on life" by signing with his band The Roots to The Tonight Show.


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