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Grammy-Winning Roots Drummer Detained By DEA

?uestlove at one of his lucrative deejay gigs last fall

In the last couple years, Roots drummer Ahmir Thompson, otherwise known as ?uestlove, has become a sought-after deejay — a lucrative side gig for the Philly native. According to Thompson, the extra cash — and Louis Vuitton bag, knitted rastafarian hat, his band’s lack of coverage in hip-hop magazines and, yes, skin color — is what got him detained in the Buffalo airport by the Drug Enforcement Agency in what he called “the most humiliating hour of my life.”

Thompson then did what any air traveler does after a bad air travel experience in the JetBlue era — he blogged about it. And it appears no one gave ?uestlove the post-Imus memo:

it was just so fucking degrading man. that is all i can describe it as. i’m sitting there like how am i gonna convince these guys that this dude with 30 dollar old navy jeans (white boy shit) and a 3000 dollar louis bag (nigga shit) and 5 figures in cash (white boy shit) and a coach seat (nigga shit) and a story of stadiums sold out across the world (nigga shit) but can’t name a hit song of his (white boy shit) (and what the hell is you doing in buffalo of all places (white boy question) followed by my “shrug” (nigga response). add on top of that my cd collection: the sly and the family stone box set and ladies of the canyon (joni mitchell) what kind of mofo is this?

Thompson’s full MySpace rant (“Current mood: pissed off”) including a subtle but important ode to the importance of music magazines:

Blog 95: Father You See King The Police
Current mood: pissed off

remember all that drug czar joking i was doing on the last blog?

funny what can happen in a lil town called buffalo. what shoulda been a harmless trek to gate 26 in the buffalo airport wound up being possibly the most humiliating hour of my life.

every cop cliche that ANY comedian has ever uttered (and i dismissed –not because of lack of truth but its like “ok mike epps, we know cops be fucking with us WHAT ELSE IS FUCKING NEW?!?!”)

but sure enough…..all those comedy albums i am addicted to was slowly channeling in and coming to life.

you see, post 911 if you purchase a plane ticket 24 hours before the flight leaves you automatically get checked in the special security line (to me this is all bullshit for i believe our government orchestrated 911–not no damn civilians!–but eff it. wag the dog is wag the dog)

thing is i absolutely forgot that i was carrying around all of my post roots show dj ?uestlove gig money. what was once just a little side money has damn near turned into a even more lucrative deal for me as time has gone by and my value has been upped. so as a result since this is a transitional period i have yet to stop the regular small cash pick ups i do after i dj (roots show money is deposited in bank account before we even hit the town.)

now back in the day that petty cash would be gone in about 10 days: i’d cop some sneakers, buy mad records, get crazy gadgets….well today is a different story: i no longer have to pay for sneakers that much, and i think that 60,000 records are enough records to have in this lifetime. i get VIP status with apple so if the timing is right and i don’t abuse my status—i pretty much dont have to come outta pocket for the gadgets.—

well with the 3 main passions of my life at my disposal that pretty much means that i don’t have to spend that much money (this is how real wealthy people stay wealthy: someone else pays the bill!)–so for some reason…shit just started adding up. i’m sure shawn gee is laughing as he reads this cause he knows that when it comes to spending money? i am kid (smack) dy-no-mite!

but i had plans. plans to have at least 5 kickass cookouts at my new home. this basically means that i was waiting for the prime opportunity to go to home depot and get all the ill shit i needed to make my barbeques the jump off. night heaters here, chairs there, weather proof speaker systems so i can dj from the room here, mosquito lamps there…that is what i was planning on saving for.

problem is i have yet to run to philly to bank my loot up.

enter the DEA.

my life is an ongoing see saw series that refuses to settle on one side. on one hand i think that constant balance is what keeps me humble (or from being a total asshole to those snickering “humble? bah!…just cause you talk proper english don’t mean you humble ahmir”). personally i wish god would make up its mind on what side of the fence imma be on. if its meant for me to be a real celeb can we let it happen already so i can friggin be more prepared for the dumb shit i got to encounter in life? case in point:

because of the SSSS on my ticket i had to go through the “special security line”. and it was there they discovered my dj money stash from countries all around the world. the tsa (who resembled the chuby white dude from the office) starred me up and down and made his decision: “drug dealer”

this motherfucker called the feds.

i went from security to cops to feds/dea. in 20 mins.

soon i was in the scenario all my favorite comedians riffed about.

chris rock: yo nypd made me believe that i stole my own shit!!!

they were like there are too many red lights: “you carry two computers, these orange things (external hard drives), this louis vuitton bag (no one gave me the memo that louis bags are suspect on TWO levels for men) you carrying all this money from different countries, you have a passport, and you fit the description with this knitted rasta farian hat”

i wore this hat to conceal the afro that could be the difference between the autograph/photo pause i have to take while going to plane and just maybe an extra 6 mins at starbucks concealed enjoying a muffin and coffee before the flight. i know i joke with the “disguise” kit hat but it does buy me minutes. i have nothing against taking photos. its just one photo leads to another photo and then 4 photos and then there goes 10 mins and then “final call for USair flight passenger thompson!!!!!”

its confusion all around. i have yet to name drop or brag. i just sat there on my most dipset. me and this one cop.

then two.

then 5.

and they all doing that bullshit ass “small talk” shit that i fucking hate. its like come on now. you aint all that interested in all my life and i dont feel like tomming it up today.

dave chapelle: oh yeah…with police you gotta do your best job interview voice. be as non threatening as possible.

nice bag you got there. men carry louis bags?

so why are you carrying 100,000 in china money?

how many pairs of pants do you have on?

we are going to ask you once, please tell the truth: are you carrying any kind of drugs on your person?

so a grammy huh?

can you sing on of the songs you sing?”

(picks up the many magazines i have and picks XXL and hip hop weekly) “where are you in this magazine? huh? you said you were in a rap group. huh? how can a rapper not be in a rap magazine? is your rap different than regular rap? (pulls the rolling stone and spin out) are you in here then? im confused. you are in a rap group that play for 7000 students last night. you been out for 15 years. you say you have 3 grammies. you travel coach with all this money on your person. and you can’t produce your face in none of these books you have?”

“remove your pants please”

this was singlehandedly the most embarrassing moment of my career. i’ve gone through worse with the cops in my career (summer of 1995 in italy the fbi version of italy busted in on a tip they got from someone that reported suspicious activity on the block…which in truth means that we were using our day off to wash clothes. and our crime was that…well…we were black?. that same year in austria the cops harassed hub after he came to the defense of our pre kamal keyboard player nikki yeoh. i dont think they took too kindly to the site of her in “our” company and they did their best to make their displeasure known. and of course the infamous roach found in the ashtray of our band landcruiser which led those cats in the 48 hour hell ordeal for everyone but me and hub.

best believe today i got mine.

it was just so fucking degrading man. that is all i can describe it as. i’m sitting there like how am i gonna convince these guys that this dude with 30 dollar old navy jeans (white boy shit) and a 3000 dollar louis bag (nigga shit) and 5 figures in cash (white boy shit) and a coach seat (nigga shit) and a story of stadiums sold out across the world (nigga shit) but can’t name a hit song of his (white boy shit) (and what the hell is you doing in buffalo of all places (white boy question) followed by my “shrug” (nigga response). add on top of that my cd collection: the sly and the family stone box set and ladies of the canyon (joni mitchell) what kind of mofo is this? and 6 books all of connundrums and riddles?

something aint right here.

i took another half hour before the dea came. and questioned me all over again.

“now mr thompson says he is a recording artist with grammies and once sold out radio city music hall…but doesn’t have a private plane yet carries enough cash to own one.”

assholes.

i barely made the fight. i was just in time for the asshole flight attendant to announce “and a round of applause for the young man who decided to grace us with his presence ladies and gentleman!!!”

i can’t describe the feeling here. its like i know mofos have gone through way worse with the police. and this aint even no thing im blogging to get you guys to bandwagon the hate machine on cops. but i am angry right now. im angry cause im letting this effect my self worth and my esteem. im beating myself up cause i really shoulda insisted that i get paid direct to my bank account instead of cash in hand. im angry cause i let these pigs echo their snide remarks to me (“you mean to tell me you can carry all this cash and sit in coach?” “sing one of your songs!” “where did you get that bag?” “how come you are not in this magazine?” all of that shit is just reading “loser”. and i KNOW im not a loser. but the echoing of it just rings and rings and rings. again i can’t describe it. im walking round all paranoid and shit. feeling like some drug cartel who escaped from the man. fuck them two times.

i aint too angry to take them two kudos though.

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