Photo: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
  /  01.26.2018

The team at Pandora knew they were onto something when they brought on the luminary Questlove to host his own weekly podcast. With over 60 episodes down and counting since its 2016 launch, Questlove Supreme is truly as much of a gem as its legendary host is.

Alongside members of Team Supreme, Boss Bill, Laiya and Suga Steve, the expert conversationalists partnered with The Roots’ four-day takeover of the Gramercy Theatre in New York City for a first-ever live taping of the podcast on Thursday (Jan. 25). With the 2018 Grammy Awards drawing near, The Roots have been performing each night in celebration, with the legendary Roxanne Shante helping kick off the annual jam sessions the evening prior.

While past guests of the reputed podcast have included the likes of Solange, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Chris Rock, Kevin Liles, Usher, Tom Silverman, DJ Premier, Prodigy and Spike Lee, among dozens of others, this week played host to Common, with his introduction, as the co-hosts playfully pointed out, taking up the first five minutes of the broadcast with relative ease.

Considering the veteran rapper, actor, film producer, activist and entrepreneur goes way back with Questlove, it was only fitting that the in-depth sitdown would kick off from the very beginning, unearthing all sorts of stories from the vault along the way.

The candid conversation touched on a variety of subjects, including Questlove’s love of “overwearing” Yeezy’s leading to some rumored drama with Kanye West, Common’s brief stint as a straight-A college student, being a “working class MC,” the making of his hit single “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, how Minister Farrakhan stepped in to break up his vicious beef with Ice Cube back in the ’90s, the Dilla beat Questlove had some issues with at the time and much, much more.

Take a look at some highlights from the exclusive live taping below, and keep an eye out for the official airing of the full episode on Pandora next week.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

On knowing when he could put pen to paper:

Common: “I used to visit my cousin in Cincinnati every summer… We had these dudes that were a little bit older, they were like Cincinnati’s Run-DMC and they was the Bron Hill Crew, that was the neighborhood my cousin stayed at, Bron Hill. They were our heroes. This is seventh grade. I remember sitting there and we were up late at night and I was like man, let’s write some raps, talking to my cousin. I wrote my rap, he wrote his. That next day, when we started saying it, everybody was responding to my rap and I was like, ‘Yo, this is a great feeling. This is incredible.’ They knew my rap. Then I started writing for some of my friends and then it was like, oh man, I could really do this.”

Bars from the first rap Common wrote in the seventh grade:

“Well let me tell you ’bout a trip a time ago / I was going there to run a cold-blooded show / When I was there I saw some people tryna shoot / They called themselves the Bron Hill Crew / Doctor Ice, Romeo and Master E / All of the Bron Hill Crew, rapping to a tee / I asked them, could they rock with me?/”

Common: “That’s all I can remember.”[Laughs]

On the evolution of his rap name:

Common: “One of my first names was the Black Poet Caden. Then I was in a group called C.D.R., which just stood for Cory, Dion and Rashid… Dion is now No I.D. I had some other name but I can’t remember. They were whack.

I came up with Common Sense. I was going to school down in Florida and they used to call weed Cincy or whatever. My boy was sitting there smoking some weed one time and my mother used to always say, ‘boy you better use common sense.’ And for some reason, the two just connected. I always thought it was a name that was unique but still kind of every day. When the band actually sued me for my name, that’s when I lost my hair. I was stressed out. [Laughs] I was gon’ lose my hair anyways but the gist of it was, you can’t be your name no more. You’re like, man, I built this. It was right after Resurrection, my second album, I’m just getting to be known and somebody knows who I am and now y’all talking away the name Common Sense.”

Questlove: All the greats go through it. Biggie Smalls couldn’t be Biggie Smalls. We couldn’t have been Square Roots.

Common: I don’t miss Common Sense, though. I actually felt like it was all divine order. You want something so bad and you look back and things work out just right. Common kind of represents the everyday person that I believe I am.

Questlove on first learning of Common:

“Some people may not know what The Source is [audience audibly disagrees]. There’s a section in the former bible of hip-hop, whatever that is, called ‘Unsigned Hype.’ That’s how I knew of you because you were in the ‘Unsigned Hype’ back in 1991-’92.”

On being featured on “Unsigned Hype”:

Common: “When we [referring his team and him] got selected for ‘Unsigned Hype, that was such a big moment for me. Being from Chicago and being at a Black college, everyone was like, woah, you might be able to do something with this emceeing thing. My mother, she barely knew I rapped, really. When I first got offered a deal… that’s honestly how we first got signed. Relativity Records was doing an album with the ‘Unsigned Hype’ artists. They had Biggie, they had Mobb Deep. They had all of us doing an album. The project never went through so they ended up pulling it and instead saying, we’re gonna sign you. We’re thinking about signing you so we had a meeting and that’s how I got signed, from that Source ‘Unsigned Hype.’”

On a past run-in with the law while in college (where he had to later pick up trash from the highway for community service):

Common: “I feel like at the end of the day you learn and you grow. Ain’t nobody tryna move like that now… I take responsibility for what I do and what I did, but it was like, that wasn’t initially my idea. But OK, I’m driving. On some serious stuff, I’ve been going to visit prisons and talk to people inside who are incarcerated. I’ve met people that are doing life sentences for being in the car for something. It put a lot into perspective for me, like that could’ve been me.

I’m grateful that I went through those things. Obviously, I’m grateful that I came out of it on a positive, but one thing I always say, it don’t matter how many things I did, my heart was always good. I never wanted to damage people. I just got caught up in stuff and did certain things.”

On explaining to his mom that he was going to be a rapper instead of finish college:

Common: “Similar to a certain degree [in response to Questlove explaining his family didn’t know about his music career until the Roots’ second album came out], my mother didn’t even know I was rapping. I told her, I got a contract, I want to leave school and I want to go pursue my rap career. She knew about it; maybe she saw something out there but she didn’t think of it as a profession. She was like, man, you need to stay in school. I was like, look mom, this is my dream… She was like, OK, I’m going to give you a year and a half. And if it doesn’t work, then you need to be back in school. She saw how hard I was pursuing my goals. At first it was just to make a record, you know how hard it was back then.

Questlove on Common’s evolution as an artist:

“You’re probably the most evolved human I know that’s an artist. As an MC, you’ve stuck to hip-hop’s rules of just writing the moment and being like, I’ma just suffer the consequences later. You’ve said some of the most wildest shit ever on wax. Offensive, not offensive…”

On the making of the autobiographical track “Retrospect for Life” with Lauryn Hill, one that Questlove points out has a conservative narrative despite Common being personally pro-choice:

Common: “When I wrote ‘Retrospect for Life’ which is about abortion, I was just writing from the perspective of what I was feeling as a human being. The fact of just being more responsible. Not just being out here raw. It’s more like I’m playing a part in this, I shouldn’t have to put people that I care about, being the woman, through this and at the end of the day, I shouldn’t put an unborn child through it. I was just talking about all of the emotions.

I remember writing it because I used to go see a lot of poets. This writer named Gwendolyn Brooks… I went to an event that she had and all that sparked me to just write it. I wrote that more as poetry. I took that poem and made it into a song, and I had been talking to Lauryn about it while you all [The Roots] were on tour. I was talking to Lauryn about doing the song and she was on the move a lot. I finally came across that song with her about to have her child, and I was about to have a child, our babies were due on the same day, it was kind of like, this thing that was going on.

We went through with the song, [Questlove] had introduced us to James Poyser, and we had James come through. We had No I.D. do the drums and we were going through the process of the song evolving and Lauryn just started trying different ideas. I think she wanted to do it because she was supportive but at the same token, I think she felt the story was important. I’m super grateful that she wanted to direct the video and I do agree that one day, it’d all make sense. It was a foreshadowing of what the evolution would be of that sound. That was the first time I used a lot of instrumentation and trying out different things. It comes from when you start exploring and learning about new music.”

On working with J. Dilla:

Common: “I first met him with Q-Tip. We went and did this VIBE showcase that Quincy Jones had. We left the conference and went to Q-Tip’s house. At his house, Dilla was fingering through these records and he was sitting there. He was real quiet so I didn’t know Dilla’s Detroit hood side to a certain degree. Q-Tip started playing me all these beats that Dilla did and I was like, this dude is incredible.

So then I got a beat tape from him. That’s when I was on the road with De La, and I said ‘Jay Dee, can we lay some stuff?’ He flew himself to Chicago and laid some beats for me… I never used the beats but I think it was ’98, I went to Dilla’s house with you all, with The Roots, when you wanted to do Illa-Fifth Dynamite in Detroit. We were all on the same label so when I linked up with Dilla at that point, it was like we gotta do some music. I would make those trips to Detroit and it was a combination of just me watching the greatest at work, going to the strip club and making beats. We’d go to Korean BBQ, play games. I’m not a strip club dude, not that I’m judging it, just wasn’t my thing. That’s part of the culture in Detroit. Just to watch him pull out records and just work, just changed my life. It was incredible. If I wasn’t there, when he was just making beats, he’d send me a batch. I’d call his mother, Ma Dukes would be like ‘okay, I’m sending it to your place.’

Then to watch him like start making songs with me, Jay Dee would do what he wanted. I wanted him to rhyme on a song ‘Funky For You,’ I wanted all of Slum Village to rhyme on that song on Like Water For Chocolate. He sat in the studio and he was like tryna come up with something. I don’t think his heart was into rhyming on that one, but, so that night, I thought he was done. He came back the next morning and picked me up and said ‘I think we should do this one’ [and played something else.] My point is, he would do what he wanted to do. Somebody operating simply on a passion level, that was one of the dudes that I really felt like, if he ain’t feeling you or feeling it, he ain’t rocking with it. But he would put his heart and soul into that music.”



View More



View More


Walmart has everything you need for the tech enthusiast on your shopping list

Check out our gift guide that highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds in time for Black Friday.

  /  11.10.2023

Walmart has the home essentials for everyone on your holiday shopping list

Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.

  /  11.24.2023

5 things you need to know about the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.

  /  11.20.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicks off at Central State University

On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.

  /  11.14.2023

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour visited Mississippi Valley State University

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.

  /  11.22.2023

Walmart continues HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour during lively Virginia State University stop

After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.

  /  11.14.2023

Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University

On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

  /  11.15.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicked off at Central State University

In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.

  /  11.28.2023

Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'

Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.

  /  11.15.2023

Pheelz talks expressing himself through music & his biggest inspirations | 'On In 5'

On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!

  /  07.11.2023

Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!

  /  07.10.2023

Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'

On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.

  /  07.12.2023

BNXN talks leaving IT for music, linking with Wizkid, going viral & new album | 'On In 5'

For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!

  /  08.08.2023

From city lots to lush gardens: The power of urban farming with Karen Washington

This is the inspiring story of Karen Washington, a pioneering urban farmer who has been revolutionizing urban spaces by transforming them into vibrant community gardens and educational hubs. Sponsored by State Farm.

  /  11.17.2023

Investing in stocks in a recession | 'Maconomics'

Host Ross Mac provides useful advice for preparing your personal finances in the event of a recession. He emphasizes the importance of budgeting properly, building an emergency fund, and maintaining discipline when investing.

  /  11.21.2023

Madam DA Fani Willis proclaims, “A lie has been told on African American men”

“Every time I’m in trouble, it’s been Black men that have come to my aid,” Madam DA Fani Willis said at REVOLT WORLD while speaking on the stereotype that they are not dependable or worth dating.

  /  10.11.2023

Lauren London sparks conversation on how Black parents unintentionally give kids negative outlook on money

At the live taping of “Assets Over Liabilities” at REVOLT WORLD, Lauren London opened up about how witnessing the financial decisions adults made during her childhood fueled her outlook on money. 

  /  10.26.2023

Black media leaders stress the space's importance because we're always antagonists in mainstream's storytelling

“I definitely feel those ‘heavier is the crown’ moments. But I also believe that Black entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to be successful in the future,” Detavio Samuels said at AfroTech.

  /  11.03.2023

Machel Montano opens up about life as a child star, new music, and exciting business moves

In an exclusive interview with REVOLT, Machel Montano dove into his musical journey, childhood stardom, and an exciting new chapter in business.

  /  11.03.2023

Halftime Report | Professional athletes who've dropped rap albums

From Master P to Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Deion Sanders, Damian Lillard and more, these athletes got bars. Check out our list here!

  /  11.01.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes