This Sunday, the 93rd Academy Awards will take place and you may notice a slight change in pace as Questlove takes the helm of musical direction for the ceremonies this year.
Questlove is now only the fifth Black musical director of the show, following in the footsteps of Quincy Jones, Harold Wheeler, Pharrell Williams, and Rickey Minor.
According to Questlove, he first “manifested” the role after 2012 when Williams was in the position alongside Hans Zimmer. That year, the duo put together a performance that featured a band composed of A.R. Rahman, Sheila E, and Esperanza Spalding.
“I remember watching like, ‘Hey, wait a minute! I want to do that!’” he told Billboard, adding, “…This is not work for me. This is like ‘Wow, all that useless [music] information I had before is going to pay off […] I immediately just had dreams of, ‘Man, what creative way can I disrupt someone’s overindulgent acceptance speech?’ That’s how excited I was.”
The show will also present an official Roots reunion performance, markings the first time the group has performed as a unit outside of their routine appearance on Jimmy Fallon.
“If a hip-hop head is watching and they hear something that sounds familiar, hopefully, that leads into their discovery that a particular song that you liked actually came from an old film score,” Questlove added of his hopes for his work on this year’s Academy Awards. “You know, not many people know that Busta Rhymes’ ‘Gimme Some More’ comes from the score of [Alfred Hitchcock’s] Psycho. Even if five people get it and hit me on Twitter about it, then I feel like it’s an accomplishment — then this gig was a job well done.”