Entertainment

Russell Simmons and Questlove: Respect to Hip Hop’s Resident Rhythm Maker

Tue., Oct. 2, 2012 3:26 PM EST
by Munson Steed

Questlove: A Rhyme Of Respect 

The contest in hip-hop between Russell Simmons and Questlove was an example of the day, when two titans of the industry could converse and move a generation in such a unique and harmonious way. Electrifying frenzied crowds, while getting out the vote for Barack Obama in a way that made us proud. Competition between these brothers does not instigate violence in their quest for fame, that is a claim for Chief Keef and other neophytes in the game. They fail to see the benefit and the need to make the message in the music a win, for the hip-hop generation to follow and find the truth within.

There is no question regarding the iconic Questlove, who brought the beat from Philly, and drove the point home hard about hip-hip movements and social reality. This artist is someone who has stepped up when others have stepped back, laid down and buried their heads in the sand, summarily dismissing their responsibility out of hand. But they can clap their hands together and applaud his band, oblivious to the fact that he keeps himself, his family and his life intact. Quest love is a cultural technician of sorts, who isn’t swayed or influenced by false and erroneous reports. He is the arbiter of the hip-hop message he retorts.

Take your cue from Questlove’s name, it defines this music leader and what he brings to the game. Actively searching for love and spiritual understanding in a more intimate and effectual way, he is not given to compromise nor is he led astray. This man among men recognizes godliness in a world where so many are given to flaunt their petty differences and inane issues. Instead, he attempts to establish detente. He encourages you to move toward love and prosperity, to overcome the economic inequities and racial disparity.

Proud and African American with so much of importance to say, I am compelled to reflect upon the failings and shortcomings of  Love’s peers and other stars, who spit and rhyme about frivolous matters like a night at the bar and driving that fast car.

Questlove and those who represent Philadelphia and its famed music scene, are the technocrats of an ever-evolving cultural dream. Check out the Twitter followers and the social media machine, and you’ll begin to comprehend why we call him the the dean. He understands why technology is to be embraced and not erased, and he understands how with all of the advances it’s important to keep pace. Being an engineer and having no fear of change and all it encompasses, Questlove and Grammy Award-winning The Roots, are the much-celebrated in-house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and that they are the best on television, there is no dispute.

So here we are with a technocrat so politically involved in the day, who can use his fame to give hip-hop more depth and have it received in a more positive way. The fact is he is bound to his brothers, and his brothers to him. Like John Legend, Common and Bilal, their commitment to social consciousness is real and palpable.

So take heed and follow this lead, register to vote for four more years of hope. Peace to Questlove and all who understand this star — it is about being aggressive about hip-hop and not returning to a time when we took it too far.

Peace.

Munson Steed

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