Black Thought Recalls Heavy Tension with Questlove During The Roots' Beginnings

He also reflects on the legendary hip-hop group’s legacy overall.

Black Thought is reflecting on his musical career – solo and involvement in The Roots.

During an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, the Philly rapper recalled his mother dying when he was in high school and how his friend and creative partner Questlove became a rock during that time.

"Music was there for me when I needed it to be, and Ahmir and his family was there for me," Trotter says. "I was very much at a crossroads. I could have processed that trauma and the experience in the loss in a different way, and just been at a very different place today."

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Interestingly, things always weren’t so sweet between the two, especially during the early days of The Roots’ formation.

“We had a brief sort of scuffle, kerfuffle, a little 30-second altercation when we were young and just starting out,” described Thought. “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. 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. 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.”

Black Thought and Questlove founded The Roots as Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts students. The group dropped several classic and critically acclaimed albums and became the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in 2009.

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