Questlove responds to Keith Olbermann’s Eminem tweet, made him a playlist
Sports and political commentator/writer and current host of his own GQ webshow, Keith Olbermann got the music world talking about him when he tweeted, “After 27 years of doubts about rap I am now an @Eminem fan. Best political writing of the year, period” after Eminem’s Trump-bashing freestyle. People weren’t very happy with that freestyle being the one piece of rap music to affect Olbermann in 27 years, including Questlove, who responded to Olbermann in a series of tweets and made him a 201-song playlist of funk called “The Keith O Challenge.” His tweets read:
super late catchin’ up on what I missed last 24hrs— but how is Olbermann on my side of the fence (politics) but not on my side (hip hop). I mean nothin shocks in these numb times but lol Bernstein saw beauty in the Beatles. You have to have your mind SET to shut out hip hop. This more or less tells me who he is & who his inner circle is (as far as cultural influencers are concerned) but there is a deeper story. I once saw KRS speak at a school in 91 & his advice was simple: study every element of what I know, double down on what I don’t know. I’d LOVE to leave the lasting impression I came out the womb singing Thunder Road/10th Ave Freeze Out but I knew early that if I was gonna survive in music, I was gonna have to be OPEN to everything. Get down to the science of it. Not just “listen to” the Clash/Costello/X but understand WHY they work and their audiences. Yeah, eventually it was less “study for science” & pretty soon I could equally dig Richard/Linda T, Yoko’s music, P Smith—pretty much anything. I’m not saying K.O. must be a music scholar of the highest level. But lol ijs even B Williams kicks it w me at 30rock & leaves his comfort zone musically. & not in that pandering to be down “I like SZA” way. But EVERY genre has equal AMAZEBALLS & frothy trash offerings. My dad was one of those *grabs remote/sees 2 Live on video jukebox= [angry] dudes. took him FOREVER (I was his guide) to see hip hop culture is an American Beauty. And not in that “well you’re one of the good ones” way. There is WAY too much information out there: dissertations, summaries, articles, AHEM AHEM BOOKS—way way too much info for him to absorb. I mean—racking my brain—even if there was somethin I was indifferent about: hypothetically speakin say if i was a fan of Jacques Morali. Sorry—meant say if I WASN’T A fan (Vill People/Ritchie Fam) would I wanna go ON RECORD on THE most viral platform that makes/breaks careers? Saying you ignored rap for 27years is basically saying you’re indifferent to the very black lives you champion on your platform. Noone is askin for you to get Thuglife tats. But at the VERY least you should do the knowledge to see why it’s an effective culture. Aight I’m rambling (mighta had a triple espresso before I went to Hitchcockfest tonight)—in all areas we gotta DO BETTER. Invite people in your lives that can properly ENLIGHTEN you about things out of your comfort zone. Worked for me: Tomatoes/Beets/Mid 90s Prince/Baseball/Jacob’s ladder in the gym/Faulty Towers/Adidas/Silence—things I embraced this year. Damn where do i start lol? Don’t wanna scare him #AmerikkkasMostWanted (song) is my #WouldntItBeNice but it’s giving a baby kobe steak lol. It’s almost like I gotta make him a funk soul breakbeat compilation and literally year by year timeline him. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED @KeithOlbermann. Dear @KeithOlbermann your education starts here w FUNK. 201 songs to absorb. More next month. Good luck sir!
You can hear the whole playlist below.
Olbermann later tried to clear up his initial tweet, tweeting, “Hate to hit your narrative but I’ve been a fan of political protest music, rap and otherwise, for 50 years. My “doubts” were about my personal tastes. I had Coolio and LL Cool J cassettes before I owned a CD player. My “doubts” were like my doubts about Zep. People love Zep. I like the music, don’t like Plant and the lyrics. That’s all it was. Was just saying I always respected it, but Eminem’s bodying Trump was the first time I got the thrill. No disrespect intended, more a public questioning of my own tastes.”
Here’s Questlove’s 201-song “The Keith O Challenge” playlist: