Just keep swimming! Questlove played the movie Finding Nemo in honor of Prince during his DJ set on Thursday, April 21, at NYC’s Brooklyn Bowl. The tribute referenced a hilarious Prince tale that the Roots cofounder told earlier this year about getting fired from a DJ gig by the late musician in favor of the Disney DVD.
During one of Prince’s Philadelphia concerts in 2004, Questlove was asked to throw the “Purple Rain” crooner a last-minute afterparty — plus, Prince wanted to play pool and control the door. The drummer managed to find a venue, and he started spinning some tracks by Nigerian artist Fela Kuti for his idol, he says in an Okayplayer video narration of the incident.
"Prince, he really wasn’t paying attention because he was pool-sharking with deep concentration. He played like his entire horns section and his guitar before he got bored,” Questlove recalls in the clip. "Next thing I know he walked over to my booth and he was like, ‘Play something else,’ and I was flabbergasted.”
The DJ thought it was the particular song he didn’t like, so he put on a more energetic Fela Kuti tune but saw no change in Prince’s bored expression. “His assistant comes over and hands me a blank DVD case and says, ‘Play this,’ so when I opened the case I was really taken aback — Finding Nemo,” he continues. "Maybe they mean, like, background. So I put on the DVD and then she comes back again, ‘You can cut the music off.’"
Questlove says he hustled out and left his friend to transition the crowd from dance music to the animated underwater film. “Wait, did I just get fired and replaced by a cartoon fish? Yeah, I did,” he muses.
The Roots drummer clearly didn’t take the dismissal too personally. He posted several tributes to the “Little Red Corvette” singer on his Instagram. “Representin. It’s Only Right. #Prince #BowlTrain #PurpleTRAIN #ThatDambFish,” he wrote next to a pic of Nemo. He also posted a picture of the late legend captioned simply, “King.”
As Us Weekly previously reported, the seven-time Grammy winner was pronounced dead at age 57 on Thursday, April 21, at 10:04 a.m. He was found unresponsive in an elevator in his Paisley Park recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. His autopsy was completed on Friday, April 22, by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office and his body was released to his family. The results and the cause of death have yet to be revealed and could take several weeks.