So if you're in the audience or watching this on TV, you expect this to sound like we do when we have Tyrese or somebody up there; it's got to sound like his record. The amateurs, every time they forget something – which happens a lot – they'll turn around and make it look like, "the band messed me up" or something like that, or make it try to look like there was some kind of confusion. Anyway, we go ahead and do that four days in a row. That's what the math would be: a weekend has 120 pieces of music. It's a lot.
Here's the other thing: with the live audience, it's not like we could do any retakes if somebody messed their thing up. We have to figure it out and turn-on-the-dime. It's live TV plus it's a contest. If you were a contestant and somehow it didn't work out and you didn't feel like you did your best, you can't go back and say, "Oh, let me go back and do it again." No, you can't do it again; it's a contest. You had your shot, that was it. The ones who got booed, you can't redo that. It's a boo. So that was it. At 3:00, it's live, we hit it, boom. Next day, same thing. That was a very, very tough schedule, and very tough show. At the Apollo, there is the potential of having a hostile crowd out there. They could be loving or they could just as easily turn on the band, too. If they've got relatives in the crowd and their son or daughter didn't do that well, "Well the band messed him up."
Anyway, those were my years doing that show. That show also prepared me for all the shows that I've been doing on television during and since. I have to say nothing shakes me after that, nothing at all. I've dealt with all kinds of artists and temperaments.
As the old saying goes: "If you can make it at the Apollo, then you can make it anywhere."
You're right [laughing]. From the Apollo to President Obama's Inauguration! There you go [laughing].
During your time at the Apollo, was there a particular amateur artist that you're proud to see today, who evolved into a professional artist?
If you asked me this question five years ago, I would say Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hill had a very shaky start on the Apollo stage. She was very unsure of herself and didn't sound that great. Then she worked on it, did whatever she did, came back with the Fugees. I remember when she came back to the Apollo with the Fugees, everybody said, "Oh wow! That was the kid a couple of years ago." Of course after the Fugees hit, she came into her own and of course, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – that's such an iconic record, man. You could listen to that forever, man. I'm very proud of who she became as an artist. Having said that, I'm so looking forward to seeing Lauryn Hill have some kind of resurrection. We haven't seen it yet. Lauryn Hill is kind of one of my favorite stories.