Though Questlove couldn't outright say so due to NDA shenanigans, the gig in question was a President Barack Obama–hosted event back in early 2016. After four months of preparation for his six-hour set, Questlove felt ready to absolutely kill it. Then, as Questo explained using his best Obama impression, the vibe changed.
"So, first hour into it, I think I'm killing it," said Questlove, who joined Fallon on the couch Tuesday night in promotion of his new Creative Quest book. "Our host taps me on the shoulder and I'm trying to ignore them, like, I thought it was something just, like, 'Hey man, play Rick Astley' . . . I can't say his name—NDA—[but] he's like 'Hey, you're doing a good job but, uh, you know I love the disco and the calypso and all that stuff, but look at them.' And, like, his kids are sitting there. He's like 'They want to have fun too so, you know, pep it up.'"
Ultimately, that suggestion resulted in Questlove pausing his DJ schedule. "It forced me into retirement," he said. "Suddenly, I became the DJ I hated the most. I'm googling songs that teenagers like, like 'What is 'Swag Surfin.' I'm about to have a panic attack because, you know, this is the one thing I can do in life."
Later that night, Obama commended Questlove for having "served the people." This didn't help Questlove feel better about the set. "So, I stopped DJing," Questlove said. "But six months later, I came back and now I DJ for kids."
In related news, holy shit Barack please come back immediately.