Was Prince a Hip-Hop Pioneer? Questlove Makes the Case

By Hayden Wright

When he saw Prince’s faec on the cover of The Source magazine, Questlove felt inspired to hammer out 40 reasons why the Purple One should be considered a hip-hop pioneer. In April, Quest penned a long essay for Rolling Stone exploring Prince’s influence on the genre.

Related: Questlove Remembers Prince as a Hip-Hop Forebearer

It’s a lengthy roundup but a great one—the Roots bandleader shouts out to Prince’s prowess on the drum machine, his lack of regard for standard English grammar, “invention” of the remix and killer B-sides. Prince’s lifestyle, like his affinity (and widely reported mad skills) for basketball also cracked the list.

The final entries— 38) couldn’t tell him NOTHING 39) always escaped into thin air 40) left us way too early — are poignant reminders of Prince’s unique, bold, and ultimately too-brief presence in music.

1st i chuckled cause well...---ok it's been a min since I saw The Source but after I pondered ----yeah it made sense: 1) came from troubled home 2) limited access to music forces him to create his own world of music 3) Overcame Poverty 4) creates fictional background tales to keep the press guessing 5) lives by the DIY creed 6) takes fashion taboos & makes them mainstream and acceptable 7) cock blocks & steals yo lady on the low (ask Rick) 8) puts his crew on---get them deals & makes them stars 9) pretty much wrote the book on gettin some better than any of his contemporaries 10) had beef w his peers who hated on him 11) invented the remix (not disco edits, but reimagining the album version) 12) played mystery card---let us think what we wanted---gave the press middle finger 13) ghostwrote for everyone 14) used mad aliases 15) refused 2 b ordinary & eschewed the proper English language as a ways 2 communicate 16) knew the B side wins again and again 17) used the exotic honey to his advantage 18) used his music to give his views on the po po, politicians, gun control, war, god, squares & "the man" 19) turned a long music video into a revolution 20) best drum machine programmer ever 21) used synthesizers as a way of life 22) could make an entire album in less than a week 23) balled so hard in Paris & other parts of France---so he made a film about it. 24) cut his crew off and got a new crew. 25) went all hippie like it was nothing. 26) made dis records 27) never wifed em, mostly replaced em 28)started his own label 29) Parental Advisory was invented because of him 30) made a Black Album w a chip on shoulder to prove to black people he was still bad. 31) plays sports better than u 32) had mad songs in the stash 33) had an MTV mansion/compound long before anyone did 34) changed looks constantly 35)dropped music on the net in record time 36) looked out for his peeps on the low doing benefits and raising money like a modern day Robin Hood 37) tries taking on the man for his complete freedom 38) couldn't tell him NOTHING 39) always escaped into thin air 40) left us way too early #PrinceRogersNelson #HipHopPioneer. @TheSource.

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

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