Why Questlove nearly beat up Black Thought
(Credit: Wikimedia/Joe Mabel)

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Why Questlove nearly beat up Black Thought

Black Thought and Questlove have been friends for over four decades and have created exceptional music together. As the two founders of The Roots, the Philadelphia natives built an unparalleled collective comprised of Black Thought, Questlove, Malik B, Captain Kirk Douglas, Stro Elliot and others.

The Roots produced conscious lyrics with a very soulful and jazz-inspired type of sonic. With the use of live bands and skilled neo-soul vocalists, the collective countered the rough, hard-bodied style of hip-hop the East Coast was known for producing in the 1990s. 

The group’s founders and most renowned acts, Questlove and Black Thought, grew up together and were raised in Philadelphia, in the Cobb’s Creek and Point Breeze neighbourhoods, respectively. Since their teenage years, the pair have been on the same page creatively and always in accordance.

However, there was one occasion when the two almost got into a huge fight. During an interview with NPR, Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter) recalled that the altercation could have been a fistfight, stating, “We had a brief sort of scuffle, kerfuffle, a little 30-second altercation when we were young and just starting out,” 

He continued, “We were displaced, living in London, and there was just lots of angst and anxiety…with all the energy associated with anyone’s first time putting out a record. So, yeah, just the perfect storm of events. It led to us coming to blows right quick.”

Black Thought admitted that although he thought it was minor and not a big deal, he came to realise that it impacted their friendship, disclosing, “And it was the sort of thing that I’d forgotten about it before we left the place [where] it had taken place. But I think it’s the sort of thing that it stuck with him in a different way.”

He concluded, “Is it a grudge that he’s held? I don’t think so. But I definitely don’t think it’s something that he has ever forgotten.” Although the two may have had a diminished friendship, it didn’t end it.

Last year, Questlove paid tribute to Trotter on Instagram, celebrating 50 years of friendship by writing, “Took forever finding this photo we took back in high school in 1988. Our first ever photo. I’m not even sure if we were Radioactivity yet. I wish I could let these two know the journey that lay ahead for them.”

He continued: “Riq was always at the cool kid section in high school & I’m just a dweeb with the ability to mirror breakbeats on the lunchroom table—so I got access other nerds didn’t. You changed my life by including me man. I love you for that bro. Welcome to the big league. It’s a cause for celebration because tomorrow is never promised (especially in our profession) Happy 5 decades around the SON good sir! 10/3/73 & forever @BlackThought.”

You can see a Bazaar magazine photo Black Thought posted of the two last year.