Questlove Issued Another Hot Take About A Classic Diss Track After Deriding The Drake And Kendrick Beef

Despite already being in hot water with rap fans over his take on the Drake/Kendrick Lamar beef, Questlove derided a different diss track in a new interview. This time, his beef (heh) is with a classic of the genre: Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up,” which is widely regarded as one of the best — or at least, the most disrespectful — diss tracks in rap.

Appearing on SiriumXM’s One Song Podcast to discuss Public Enemy’s “Cold Lampin’ With Flavor,” Quest was inevitably baited into commenting on the evolution of diss tracks. While pointing out how the lyrics on them are usually just “okay,” he brought up his issue with “Hit ‘Em Up” — which is so very specific, and so very, very Questlove.

“I would actually respect Tupac’s ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ if his music tracking was better,” he announced. “‘Hit ‘Em Up,’ to me, is disqualified not because of the misogynist… forget all that. Dude, you’re rhyming over smooth jazz dinner music! Luther Vandross could sing over this!”

He’s referring here to “Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards, the song sampled by “Hit ‘Em Up” producer Johnny “J.” (For a laugh, check out the original music video, which is unintentionally hilarious in its 1980s-ness.)

Once a clip of the interview — out of context, of course — made its way to Twitter, Questlove became the target of fans already incensed that he had declared “hip-hop is dead” over the Drake/Kendrick battle. Some fans pointed out that The Roots’ video for “What They Do” could be interpreted as a satirical diss of The Notorious B.I.G. (and, in fact, was seen that way by Biggie, but as Quest has repeatedly pointed out, that was all a misunderstanding — read the liner notes sometime, people).

It seems unlikely that Quest is going to change his opinion. After all, he’s seen hip-hop through a great many iterations and has maintained more or less the same level of forward-thinking, left-of-center outlook on it the entire time. The people fronting on him now probably aren’t the people who actually had Illadelph Halflife on vinyl, so some friction between their viewpoints is probably not only to be expected, but practically inevitable (anyone who was on rap forums in the late 90s or early 2000s can attest to this).