“He kept breaking it down to me until he finally planted the seed in me,” Questlove recalled.
Questlove shared a hilarious anecdote on how Yasiin Bey turned him an MF DOOM fan. In honor of the late rapper’s passing back in October (and news of his death surfacing earlier this month), Vulture published a feature speaking to DOOM fans and some of his collaborators, with everyone from Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf to Bishop Nehru speaking on the MC.
Among those interviewed was Questlove, who recounted the time Yasiin Bey really put him on to DOOM. Per Vulture:
It was the Voodoo record-release party for D’Angelo [in 2000], and Mos Def showed up in his kitted-up, chauffeur-driven van with music blasting. He rolled down the window and said to me, “Yo, you gotta get in here.” I tried to convey to him that Mark Ronson and I were DJ-ing the party, but he was like, “No, man. We gotta have a discussion.” I was preparing myself for some kind of deep talk, but he just started preaching the gospel of DOOM. I’m talking a 40-minute monologue, almost something like a Jehovah’s Witness would preach, trying to convert me to a new religion. He was like, “Do you understand the majestic gift that is Operation: Doomsday?” At the time, I had been listening to it with a different set of ears. [I said] “Oh, is that Zev Love X’s project?”
Before Mos turned me around, my early thoughts of Operation: Doomsday, and skimming through it, were, It’s post Wu-Tang; the loops are sloppy. Anita Baker and J.J. Fad? C’mon now … I can’t spin this in the club. My initial response was more scoff than whoa. Mos was not going to give up. He memorized that whole album like his life depended on it. He memorized it like my life depended on it. He made me listen to “Rhymes like Dimes” three times over. He was determined to convince me that it was the dopest shit out. He kept breaking it down to me until he finally planted the seed in me.
“Music hits different when someone leaves. You hear it different, and listening to all of his music in the past few weeks, I really wish I had immersed myself from the gate,” The Roots drummer said elsewhere in the story. “I’m so ashamed to be telling this story because every person in my position wants to claim that glory: ‘I was there first! I put you guys onto it!’ But no. Mos sat me down in the dead of winter, in January 2000, and preached the gospel to me, until I was late for a gig, to tell me DOOM was God. I’m sitting here, 21 years later, knowing what I should have known back then.”
There have a handful of instances of Bey showing his fandom of DOOM. He covered the rapper’s music back in 2014 and has spoken on some of his favorite DOOM lines, as is evident inn this well-known video.
Bey had previously revealed that he has unreleased music with DOOM, but it’s unknown if that music will see the light of day following the rapper’s passing.