Questlove Shares 40 Ways Prince Pioneered Hip-Hop

Questlove continues to keep Prince's legacy alive with 40 ways he helped pioneer hip-hop.

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Complex Original

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Questlove, the drummer for the Roots, has been passionate about voicing his love for Prince since the icon's death in April. At the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, Questlove introduced Madonna and Stevie Wonder’s performance with some kind words about the Purple One’s impact on music.

“We can follow the trails he blazed, we can follow his example, we can be fierce, we can be uncompromising, we can be experimental, we can also listen to all the songs he left for us," he said. "He was very, very generous in that regard. And as we move forward, we will encounter every single day, more reasons to remember him,” he said.

The Roots frontman continues to keep Prince's legacy alive Saturday. Questlove posted a photo of The Source's tribute cover to Prince and wrote out 40 different reasons Prince is a hip-hop pioneer in the caption. Some people wouldn’t categorize Prince’s music as hip-hop, but he had the rare ability to be in all genres. This isn't a new thought from Questlove. He opined Prince was hip-hop in a Rolling Stone essay from April. You can read all 40 of Questlove's reasons below:

  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 and makes them mainstream and acceptable.
  7. Cock blocks and steals your lady on the low (ask Rick).
  8. Puts his crew on—get them deals and makes them stars.
  9. Pretty much wrote the book on gettin some better than any of his contemporaries.
  10. Had beef with 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 to be ordinary and eschewed the proper English language as a ways two 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 and “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 and 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 with a chip on [his] shoulder to prove he was still bad.
  31. Plays sports better than you.
  32. Had mad songs in the stash.
  33. Had an MTV mansion/compound long before anyone did.
  34. Changed looks constantly.
  35. Droped music on the net in record time.
  36. Looked out for his peeps on the low doing benefits and raising 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 too early.

Questlove has shown his respect for other musicians who have paid tribute to Prince. After Madonna and Stevie Wonder received a negative response online by some diehard fans, Questlove came in their defense in a series of tweets. "Every Prince rendition will not be a life-changing orgasmic xperience. Just to SING his work is brave enough," he wrote.

Prince passed away on April 21 at his at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota. He is expected to be honored again at the upcoming BET Awards on June 26.

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