Questlove Says DJing For Barack Obama Was The Worst Gig Of His Life

Questlove Says DJing For Barack Obama Was The Worst Gig Of His Life: It Turned Out To Be A Lesson That I Didn’t Know I Needed To Learn

Questlove has done a lot of great things in his career, but DJing for Former President Barack Obama wasn’t one of them.

In a recent interview, the music genius opened up about some of his most memorable gigs as a DJ, and being in charge of the turntables during his longtime bud Barack Obama’s last week in office is one event he has no choice but to remember.

“I’m sorry, [Barack Obama] hates when I tell this story. One of the worst gigs of my life was DJing Obama’s last week at the White House. It turned out to be a lesson that I didn’t know I needed to learn. I say it’s the worst DJ gig of my life, and he says, ‘That’s nonsense. We had the time of our lives.’ But what I wanted to do didn’t happen.”


When previously speaking of the ordeal on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Questlove expressed that he takes his craft seriously and his failure to make Obama’s occasion a success drove him to consider retiring his DJ hat.

“I’m very meticulous about my DJ-gig preparation. I’m like what John Nash, from ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ like putting up math formulas and all that. And I get the dream gig of a lifetime. Like, early 2016. and I have four months’ preparation. I prepared for it. Sixteen weeks of doing every combination of BPMs and the key to the song and all that stuff, and it’s a six-hour DJ gig.”

Further into the conversation, he detailed how everything went downhill:

“So, first hour into it, I think I’m killing it. And my host taps me on the shoulder, and I’m trying to ignore him. Like, I thought it was someone just like, ‘Hey, man! Play Rick Astley!’ So, basically, he taps me on the shoulder–and I can’t say his name, NDA. He’s like, ‘Hey, you’re doing a good job, but, you know, I love the disco, and the calypso and all that stuff, but look at them.’ His kids are sitting there [frowning]. He’s like, ‘They want to have fun, too, so, uhh, you know, pep it up!'” 

Although he was unable to directly identify the said host, hints definitely told it all.

The Obamas

However, clearly, there’s no hard feelings on the Obamas’ end, and The Roots member was later able to redeem himself at Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Gold Party.

All in all, none of it takes away from Questlove’s greatness.

Not too long ago, he made TIME Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential’ List.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!


Authored by: Ashley Blackwell