“Be­ing on Fal­lon was sup­posed to be about tak­ing a break or a sab­bat­i­cal – and it ac­tu­ally made us busier than we’ve ever been”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

po­lit­i­cal voice dur­ing the Ge­orge W Bush years.

“My God, that is one of my big­gest re­grets. Re­gret isn’t even the right word. I was very naïve in the faith I had in the left-of-cen­tre sec­tor of mu­sic. I thought this was sort of like an army that was down to go into bat­tle for you, but it didn’t hap­pen.

“As far as my cor­ner of the sky goes – leftof-cen­tre black mu­sic like D’An­gelo, Dead Prez, Bi­lal, Mos Def, Com­mon, Eykah Badu – I found it weird that the peo­ple I thought I’d have go­ing into bat­tle, as far as be­ing that voice, that coun­ter­part to the over-in­dul­gent, he­do­nis­tic cel­e­bra­tion which was go­ing on in hip-hop at the time . . . all of them went silent. All the po­lit­i­cal voices fell silent.

“We haven’t had a Lau­ryn Hill al­bum in 14 years; we haven’t had a D’An­gelo al­bum in 12 years. At the time, Erykah Badu was tak­ing six-year breaks.

“Q-Tip took ages be­tween al­bums. Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Ma­chine has yet to re­lease any prod­uct. These are the po­lit­i­cal voices I was count­ing on to keep au­di­ences in­formed. Ev­ery­one just buck­led, buck­led out of fear. It was like we just didn’t care.”

Quest­love, though, cares. He talks about the forth­com­ing US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as “the most cru­cial in Amer­ica’s his­tory; this will de­ter­mine if we’re go­ing to progress or regress as a so­ci­ety.” He did some “grass­roots cam­paign­ing” for Barack Obama in 2008 and ex­presses his “shock and sur­prise” at how un­in­formed peo­ple were about the po­lit­i­cal process.

“I was equally ap­palled at the ease of many who lent sup­port based on the wrong rea­sons. I don’t cam­paign for a politi­cian; I don’t like the premise of ‘Quest­love says this par­tic­u­lar per­son is cool so I guess I should do what he does’. That’s dan­ger­ous too. I want peo­ple to look at the facts and look at what is needed in this coun­try for jus­tice to pre­vail. Then, you make a de­ci­sion of who the best per­son is based on all the facts.”

For years, many won­dered when the lo­qua­cious and ar­tic­u­late Quest­love would get around to writ­ing a book. In keep­ing with his 15 jobs, he’s cur­rently writ­ing two books. One is his own bi­og­ra­phy and the other a “pas­sion project”.

“The work­ing ti­tle for the Quest­love book right now is Mo Metta Blues and that will be prob­a­bly out by May 2013. The pas­sion project is a cof­fee ta­ble book on Soul Train. I begged and begged and begged to do it. I told the pub­lisher of the Quest­love book that I had to get the Soul Train book done first and he went ‘are you crazy?’. But Soul Train is my life.

“It’s weird. I’m a 24-hour tweet ma­chine, I’m a 24-hour blog­ger and when there’s no pres­sure on me, I can talk and write and lec­ture with the best of them. But put a dead­line on me and I start get­ting writer’s block. But it’s a very in­ter­est­ing process to write and write and write and then have some­one else edit your stuff.”

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