Despite the drummer’s traditional position in the backline of most bands, The Roots’ afroed bandleader Questlove has often been the band’s most front-facing member. In their television appearances and interviews, he’s been quite charming, charismatic, and well-spoken, which might be why he’s become the band’s de facto spokesman and host of his own Pandora show, Questlove Supreme. He put that experience to great use on last night’s special, Black History Month-themed episode of Comedy Central’s Drunk History alongside West Coast hip-hop icon Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. to narrate the story of the birth of hip-hop.
With Jackson portraying Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc (complete with the iconic cowboy hat Herc made part of his performance persona), Quest ravels off the tale of those house parties on Sedgwick & Cedar, where Herc first reimagined the funk records of James Brown into the blueprint for what we now know as hip-hop.
This isn’t the first time the outspoken drummer has given a history lesson on TV and it won’t be the last. While The Roots contributed an animated, Schoolhouse Rock-style primer on the history of African-American holiday Juneteenth to Black-ish last fall, the group is also planning an AMC-backed television adaptation of New York Times-bestselling author Shea Serrano’s The Rap Yearbook to be aired later this year.