Droppin’ Science Liner Notes From ?Questlove of The Roots |Exclusive Droppin’ Science Mix by J Rocc

Blue Note Records enlisted the help of Hip-Hop elitist to comprise their latest release, Droppin’ Science: Greatest Samples From The Blue Note Lab. ?Questlove, drummer from The Legendary Roots Crew provides the liner notes for the album. While, J Rocc from The World Famous Beat Junkies put together a mix comprised of the originals and Hip-Hop tracks that sampled them. Check out the mix and liner notes below.

J Rocc From The World Famous Beat Junkies | Droppin’ Science Mix

Preview The Entire Album Here!

Droppin’ Science – In Stores 2/12

Droppin’ Science Liner Notes by ?Questlove of The Roots


In hip hop’s coming-of-age during the mid to late-’80s, I slowly discovered that my father’s precious record collection was an oasis of endless trivia. Friends and I would sit by his turntable and play endless soul records only to discover, “Dayuuuuuuuum! This is where [enter hip hop producer here] got his idea for [enter artist here] for [hip hop song here]!!!!”

For those not too fortunate with a connoisseur figurehead like mine, there were other options like Lenny Roberts’s Ultimate Breaks & Beats and Paul Winley’s Super Disco Breaks, which basically gave you the Cliffs Notes on beat digging. I’m certain this upset most beat diggers pre-’85 who went as far as to wash the label off the record so that future break vultures couldn’t cheat with the old “look over the shoulder trick” that DJs still do to this day.

Combine all this with the discovery of your uncle’s James Brown 45s, and you pretty much have the soundtrack to the classic hip hop period of the late-’80s. There were some notable exceptions.

The one that makes me the proudest, of course, is my hometown champ (and the greatest, funkiest, and most precise DJ ever!), DJ Jazzy Jeff, who lived up to his name in 1986 with a ditty called “A Touch of Jazz,” a compiled cram session of ’70s funk/jazz trivia looped and scratched to perfection. It was the “DJ cut” — remember those? — on his debut album, Rock the House (along with an MC I haven’t heard from in eons? Any locale for a Will Smith? Anyone? . . . lol).

That was the first time I heard a Bluebreak used in hip hop (my favorite Mizell-penned classic “Harlem River Drive” for Bobbi Humphrey). As time progressed, I slowly started to discover the side of my pop’s record collection that I used to avoid like the plague (I mean the James/Parliament/Cameo/Ohio Players/Earth Wind & Fire smorgasborg was enough for my naive arse). Those records looked like old peoples’ records — what in the hell was a Lou Donaldson gonna teach me?

Enter Idris Muhammad, a crucial general in the Blue Note army that was key to crossing the prestigious jazz label over to the soul side of thangs. That was how I got sucked into Bluebreaks. Same jazz outlook, just a lil’ funkier, to reach the corners of the ghetto that an otherwise (still worthy) Jackie McLean or a Horace Silver couldn’t penetrate. Idris’s drums had equal influence on me just as strong as if he were playing the role of John “Jabo” Starks or Clyde Stubblefield in the James Brown band.

And pretty soon, the progressive element of hip hop entered the picture and traded their Ultimate Discos for post – Reid Miles-designed Disc(os). A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, Brand Nubian, KMD, Leaders of the New School, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and even my group, all raided the closet of Blue Note’s funk period. Of course, the benefit to all was now there was a reintroduction to the kids of the parents to whom the initial Blue Note albums were aimed.

Of course, with hip hop now going through a very “curious” phase, compilations like the very one you hold in your hands are very necessary. Sure I can give you the ol’ “can’t know where you going ’less you know . . .” shtick, but at the rate where this “curious” phase feels like the pit of hell . . . then . . . perhaps a cliché might be a breath of fresh air.

— El ?uesto
(aka Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson)

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