Questlove has DJed many high profile parties and it’s unlikely The Roots drummer and music historian ever lets anyone interrupt his vibe.
Apparently, he once let someone very powerful change up his set, at least for a few minutes. Joining Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam as a guest on their Broken Record podcast, the Philly native told the story of a time he was invited to DJ a 2016 White House party.
While getting things going over on the 1s and 2s, Questo recalls the then-president walking up to him to tell him he was doing a great job. "So two hours into it, he taps me on the shoulder, 'You’re doing a good job! I love the Donna Summer and the old school Hip Hop and the jazz. But look at them, they wanna have fun too!’ And he’s pointing to his kids. They’re having a sit-in," he detailed while doing his best Obama impression.
Then came a strange request, even for the most cultured president in U.S. history. "[Obama’s] coming up to me like, 'Do you have French Montana?' And I'm like, 'Sir! I don’t have the clean versions of that,'" he recalled. "He’s like, 'We’re all adults here. Play it!' I’m like, 'Sir, I’m not gonna play 'Pop that p***y, b***h, what ya twerkin’ wit.'"
The song Obama was referring to in Questlove’s story is French’s 2013 hit “Pop That” featuring Lil Wayne, Drake, and Rick Ross. The legendary DJ said he felt so bad not playing the song at the party that it forced him into retirement from DJing gigs for six months.
Wow, that’s rough. Talk about restraint! Hopefully, this won’t be the last party Questlove DJs that Barack Obama attends. Maybe if they cross paths again in a similar setting Questo can fill the former president’s musical requests.
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Streeter Lecka/Getty Images