Having been pulled aside for “special screening” at the airport twice recently, we immediately felt for ?uestlove, the Roots drummer/DJ/blogger/vlogger, when he mentioned that his boarding pass had been tagged with the dreaded “SSSS” that forces fliers into the line for a full-on frisking. But reading about his adventures with the Drug Enforcement Agency–who were alerted when airport screeners found that ?uestlove was carrying a large amount of cash that he’d made from a DJ gig–made us feel even worse, because by his account, their interrogations turned into something like a referendum on just how famous he was:
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?”
Didn’t these guys have an Internet connection? Jeez. Anyway, this is a kind of scary precursor to an age where, in addition to their government-approved IDs, people have to tote around press clippings in order to prove who they are–which, oddly, seems to be perfect for this era. (And for the record, ?uestlove wound up making his plane with a minute or so to spare, and the flight attendant did that cute-but-jerky “let’s make an example of the late guy!” schtick.)