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Questlove’s Summer Party Playlist, Explained

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 14:  Questlove poses in the press room during the 27th Annual Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

When New York Magazine solicited summer playlists from fourteen different artists, Questlove sent his in with some notes that unfortunately had to be cut for space in the mag. (As is often the case when it comes to print.) But this morning he tweeted that it needed his commentary, and since the Internet has nothing but space, we decided to oblige. Here is Questlove's full annotated playlist. (See the original post here.)

Songs That Get the Summer Outdoor/BBQ Party Started

1. If I were DJ'n Jimmy Fallon's Yacht Rock Party: "Route 101" by Herb Alpert. (Every August we get our smooth on. It's going on our third year, one of my best parties ever.)

2. If I were DJ'n Brian Williams Clam Bake: "Wind Chimes (Version 2 Tag)" by the Beach Boys. (No one tries to "out obscure song reference" you like B Willie, even if said jam is a bunch of studio jabber ... He'd call me out if I didn't play the mono version.)

3. If I were DJ'n Amber Tamblyn's wedding reception: "I Gotta Chick" by Tyrese featuring R. Kelly and Rick Ross. (Because it's only right.)

4. If I were DJ'n Aziz Ansari's rooftop 'que: "Spend It (Riding Round & Getting It)" by 2 Chainz. (Lactose punch lines are the in thing this year.)

5. If I were DJ'n Penn Badgley and Zoe Kravitz's Williamsburg backyard potluck: "Occapella" by Lee Dorsey. (It's mostly 1972 with these guys.)

6. If I were DJ'n Prince's vegan-only after-party: "The Engine in Me" by Graham Central Station. (Good bass work gets his motor running.)

7. If I were DJ'n the Fela Returns to Broadway (did I just leak an exclusive?!?!) preshow BBQ/postshow/after-party: "Beast of No Nation." (Fela's last and greatest groove ... Throws 'em off every time I spin it, like "how'd we forget THIS ONE!?!?!")

8. If I were DJ'n Mick Jagger and L'ren Scott's evening 'que: "I Don't Know Why" by Delroy Wilson. (Riddems riddems roots all night long.)

9. If I were DJ'n Oprah's Fish Fry: "Rock Creek Park" by the Blackbyrds. (This is my version of giving her a free car. If I was given a half-hour more, I swear her and Gayle would be re-creating the subway Bboy battle scene from Beat Street.)

10. If I were DJ'n Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Garden Party: "Beware" by Louis Jordan. (Jazz with a financial cautionary tale on the side.)

10a. If I were DJ'n Mayor Michael Nutter's Jam? (Remember, I did start out a Philadelphian): "Rapper's Delight." (Trust me, Nutter's true calling is being an MC; check YouTube for the one and only Mike Q.S.T. performance of this song.)

11. If I were DJ'n Andy Samberg's Summer Jammy Jam: "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel. (Don't let that digital short bravado fool you, he knows video choreography like the back of his hand.)

12. If I were DJ'n Drake's BBQ, I'd rock Drake for all five hours out of fear that he'd walk out on me again for not playing his music.

13. If I were DJ'n Amy Poehler's UCBbque, I'd spin "Summer Nights" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. (Because come on now ... who can resist a chance to re-create this scene if played in public?)

14. If I were DJ'n Janet Jackson's beachfront party, I'd play my versions of her brother's Off the Wall album just so I can watch the slow, "Wait ... how'd he get this?!?!?" look she slowly gets anytime I play 'em.

15. If I were DJ'n for my girlfriend and her best friends, I'd just let 'em take over the turntables, 'cause I gotta deal with this woman every day.

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images