Red Bull Music Academy feat. Questlove, Bun B & Jimmy Fallon House of Deréon Media Center, Music World Entertainment March 5, 2011
See more photos of the "On the Floor!" event in our slideshow.
Saturday night, Red Bull hosted an "On the Floor!" music session at the House of Deréon Media Center in Midtown. The event was part of the Red Bull Music Academy, which for the past 12 years has searched for applicants to participate in its week long creative workshop open to producers, vocalists, DJs, and instrumentalists. This year's destination is Tokyo, and applications must be postmarked by April 4.
The day began with rap icon Bun B leading a Q&A session with the Roots' multi-talented drummer/bandleader Questlove, who talked about growing up in Philly, the formation of The Roots, how busking in NYC changed his life, and the joys (and pitfalls) of sampling music.
With his signature Afro, large glasses, and smile, he commanded the attention and admiration of a room full of Houston artists, promoters, and students.
Questlove took several questions from the audience including how to remain consistent and relevant in the game (best work under pressure; always keep a professional attitude), how to make the jump from amateur to professional musician (diversify your skills; study the business of music; maximize all opportunities), and which musicians influenced him the most (the drummer Steve Ferrone of the Average White Band/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; producer J Dilla).
After a four-hour break for dinner, an event that will be forever regarded as one of the best parties Houston has ever experienced commenced. The party included an open bar, Questlove as the celebrity guest DJ, and late-night television star Jimmy Fallon, who descended from the VIP section to dance amongst his fans.
Quest pressed through a three-hour set of awesomeness with the musical version of "Six Degrees of Separation," starting with an old soul or reggae record, and following up with the hip-hop song that samples it.
The tracks ranged from the recognizable (Kanye West's "Gold Digger" samples Ray Charles' "I've Got a Woman") to the obscure (Eminem's "My Name Is..." samples Labi Siffre's "I Got The..."), and seemingly everything in between. The audience reacted to each new coupling with jubilation and a sense of enlightened awareness of the music they love.
We all went home Saturday night with a Ph.D. in Hip-Hop History.
Personal Bias: Questlove is a musical genius.
The Crowd: A mix of the local Hip-Hop community's brightest and most influential stars.
Overheard In the Crowd: "If Heaven has a club, Questo will definitely be the DJ up there!"
Random Notebook Dump: I taught Jimmy Fallon how to throw up the "H" for H-Town.