He may not look it, but The Roots‘ drummer Questlove recently turned 50 years old, celebrating his milestone with his bandmate Black Thought and the host of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon. While there was some banter, with Jimmy teasingly asking Quest whether he thought the cheering in New York City yesterday morning was for him (it was for Biden’s inauguration and the welcome end of the Trump administration), the discussion quickly turned to the presentation of some thoughtful gifts — pun intended — from Quest’s compadres.
Tariq went first, explaining the origins of his gift to Quest with what seemed at first to be an unrelated story. However, after explaining the tattoo design he’d been working on for himself, he said that his research had brought the perfect design for his gift: a ruby encrusted lapel pin in the shape of a heart — taken from the Ghanaian Adinkra symbol representing “sankofa,” a word that can be translated as “returning to one’s roots” and inspired by Quest’s love of heart-shaped broaches. When Jimmy jokes he didn’t receive anything as fancy on his birthday, Thought reminded him, “You didn’t turn 50.” He also read the inscription from the back of the pin, which the audience couldn’t see: “From Organix to Endgame and beyond, brotherly love,” incorporating the titles of the band’s first and planned final albums and their Philadelphia origins.
Jimmy, not to be outdone, had a huge box brought onstage and reveled in Quest’s facial breakdown as the drummer realized what the present was: Morris Day’s mirror from Prince’s Purple Rain film, signed by The Time’s frontman himself. Quest’s jaw dropped; being one of music’s biggest music geeks, the piece of ephemera clearly short-circuited his brain. Hopefully, whoever keeps house will remember not to wipe that autograph off.
You can watch Quest’s hilarious reaction above.