Questlove Discusses 'Oprah Rule' of His Philadelphia Childhood - NBC Bay Area

Questlove Discusses 'Oprah Rule' of His Philadelphia Childhood

The Roots drummer told "Today's" Matt Lauer he was expected to be home before Oprah Winfrey’s talk show came on at 4 p.m.

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    Questlove, the drummer for The Roots, the house band on "The Tonight Show," recalled that while growing up in Philadelphia, his parents enforced the "Oprah rule" to keep him off the streets after school.

    He was expected to be home before Oprah Winfrey’s talk show came on at 4 p.m.

    "My parents were like, 'you want to come straight home. Do not let that 'Oprah' theme come on and you're not in this house," Questlove, whose birth name is Ahmir Thompson, told "Today's" Matt Lauer in an interview that aired Wednesday morning.

    The Roots, Questlove said, started out by busking on Philadelphia streets in 1987 with the aim of "earning date money." The word spread about them in the hip-hop community, leading to bigger shows. The Roots served as the house band on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" from 2009 to 2014, and in the same role on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon", since 2014.

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    Questlove, who's also a music producer and a DJ, discussed some of his favorite moments on "The Tonight Show," describing one performance with Bruce Springsteen that drove the audience wild.

    "It looked like the yuppie version of the 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' video," he said.

    Questlove reminisced about weekends where he would go with his father, a doo-wop singer, to the record store and return home with a trunk full of vinyl.

    "He'd buy like 200 records at a time," said Questlove. "I was in a house with 5000 records."

    He said his family's dedication to music is what made him successful.

    "They literally saved my life, he said. 

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    (Published Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018)