3. School/Black Thought
Questlove attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (locally known as CAPA). As a telling example of Questlove’s privilege, he didn’t even have to audition once they found out his father was legendary doo-wop singer Lee Andrews.
Within his first week at CAPA, Questlove met the kid that would change his life. While waiting patiently outside the principles office, this kid was dragged in by his ear, thrown down on the bench, and then blurted out, “Motherfuckers, fuck this shit. Fucking NTA jealous because he can’t get no pussy.” That loud mouth was Black Thought, a freshman, angered because he was caught hooking up with a girl in the bathroom. The two were attracted by their drastically different identities: Black Thought, a fatherless roughneck who all the girls swooned over, and Questlove, a tall, afro’d music nerd who came from a happy, tight-knit family. As he admits, “I was the dweeb and he was the cool kid.” Quest and Thought would jam together, sharing musical taste, and collaborating at the lunch-table. Black Thought would pick a beat, Questlove would study it, learn it, and play it back for Thought to battle kids over. Their first official show was a CAPA talent show in 1989; their biggest competition: Boyz II Men. Yeah, they went to the same High School.
Then Questo and Black Thought took their act to the streets, at first with pots and pans and freestyles, garnering a crowd instantly. Since then they’ve stuck together, being one another’s contrasting image, as Quest writes, “His life, which was surrounded by crime and violence, was so fundamentally different from mine that it created a kind of attraction. We were like negative images, each of us seeing something in the other they had never seen before.”