Back in 2014, Questlove from The Roots got some backlash for comments he made about Iggy Azalea. At the time, the rapper was getting serious critique for cultural appropriation and lyrics that included lines like “When the relay starts, I’m a runaway slave… Master.”
Questlove told TIME in 2014, “We as Black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that ‘Fancy,’ above any song that I’ve ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we’re truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.” He also said “Fancy” was the song of the summer.
While on “The Clay Cane Show” on SiriusXM Urban View yesterday, Questlove and Black Thought were talking their new AMC docuseries “Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America.” The conversation got to cultural appropriation with Cane saying, “What do you think about this cultural appropriation conversation that comes up? … I remember what you said Quest about Iggy Azalea, you said something like ‘Hip-hop is contagious and if you love hip-hop you gotta let it go.'”
On cultural appropriation, he said, “This is absolutely nothing new. Just the fact that it’s still shocking people is more or less like — okay, I’ll let you have that moment on social media. But, for me, it’s almost like — duh.”
Black Thought added, “It’s more than a tradition at this point. It’s woven into the DNA of not only this country, but the world. Black music, Black art, Black culture is going to be appropriated. What I have a problem with is when it’s appropriated that we abandon it. We relinquish said ownership because no matter how far it permeates to the outer limits of the globe, it’s still something that we created, so it’s ours.”
He continued, “I feel like it comes full circle and we start trying to re-appropriate what’s been appropriated — then that’s when it gets really tricky… Don’t let the Iggy Azaleas of the world become your barometer for what you should be doing as an artist.” Listen to the clip below:
The Australian rapper has been in the news cycle lately after T.I., who signed her, told The Root that he was “still actively looking for another female rapper who can undo the blunder of Iggy Azalea.” Azalea called him a misogynist for the comment.