As you may have already heard, The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake's first album in seven years, drops tomorrow. Pretty intense, huh? Releasing a piece of personal expression into a half-decade of mouth-foaming expectations? Eh, not really. Look, if you don't like this one, just wait until November: JT might have another one for you then.
According to Questlove — via that time-honored news-breaking organization, the Okayplayer.com forums — Timberlake will give us Volume 2 of 20/20 right around Thanksgiving. Responding to a forum thread about the New York Times's middling review of the album, Quest wrote "spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now ... 10 songs later= 20 vision)." It's a bit odd, of course, the news coming out this way. Did he really think he'd slide this forum comment past us?! By now Questlove should know that every word he says will be mined for golden pop culture info treasures. As for whether we can trust it: Seeing as Questlove has been DJ'ing for Justin, you'd assume he's privy to these kinds of top-level discussions.
On February 26, Roots drummer/Late Night with Jimmy Fallon point forward/NYU adjunct professor/self-anointed music snob Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson sent a cryptic tweet of "major" things to come on March 4.
something"s gonna happen major in about 6 days. Warning you now. you'll have like 3 mins to swipe CC. id follow @brooklynbowl if i were u.
Questlove is writing a memoir. Of course Questlove is writing a memoir. It's almost like all of Questlove's life — from grinding out worldwide tours with the Roots to finding minor TV stardom via Jimmy Fallon, from coaxing brilliance out of the world's most reclusive geniuses to backing Hov on the world's glitziest stages — has been leading up to this, right here. But he's not only led a theatrically, elaborately involved life he's also got the chops to tell it. Through Twitter and his celebrity stories and a thousand magazine guest columns and opinion pieces, he's proven himself as a sharp, no-B.S. writer that would have made one hell of a music journalist if he'd never picked up a pair of drumsticks. So yes to this memoir. A thousand times yes.
OK, granted, that person is Questlove, who's been working intimately with D'Angelo for over a decade, including on recording sessions for this 13-years-in-the-making, as-of-yet-unnamed comeback album. And so, yes, when Questlove tells us D's new one is not only nearly done, but also incredible — "It's potent. It's funky. It's an extremely hard pill to swallow," he gushed to Billboard on Monday — we listen. But let's not forget that Quest is the same guy who's been explicitly mind-gaming D'Angelo into releasing his album for a while now.
We've had a lot of ideas for what we are going to put on the Grantland Channel, some terrible (“Let’s tape and edit our pickup basketball games”) and some excellent (“Let’s take the best bits in the history of the B.S. Report and animate them”). The latter was so good, we spent a decent amount of time last summer combing the B.S. Report archives and identifying which stories were best suited to go cartoon. One of the very first that jumped out at us was Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan’s tale of an evening he, Dave Chappelle, and Questlove of The Roots spent at an after-party of sorts in Prince’s hotel room. It gets weird. A special shout-out is in order for our friends at Powerhouse Animation (’sup, Rachel?) for bringing this to life.
Boozin', rockin', flirtin', fist pumpin', makin' out, grillin', shootin' guns, drivin' on metaphorically weighted highways — this is exactly what a goddamn Japandroids video should look like. Warning: Will make you want to do Fourth of July all over again because, you know, God bless America. Also, I cannot tell you how proud I am of my native Massachusetts to see that the girl trying not to die from alcohol poisoning at the end of this video is wasted outside of the fine Allston establishment Tavern on the Square. I think I've puked right where she's lying!
In the last eighteen months, all while very much under employ of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Roots have managed to write and record three albums. The latest in that string, the upcoming undun, is also their most ambitious ever: it’s a concept album inspired by Sufjan Stevens, the Guess Who, and a list from a 1999 issue of SPIN, about a young man corrupted into a world of crime. (There are also weekly video accompaniments dropping). And the amount of content that has actually seen the light of day, by the way, only scratches the surface. In the new issue of Rolling Stone, drummer and band leader Questlove explains that during downtime on Fallon, while working in a studio space at 30 Rock, the band makes “On average … between three and 11 songs every day.” Yes, that is a shame-inducing amount of work and achievement! Which only makes Questlove’s latest trick all the more impressive.