?uestlove and The Roots have a lot to look forward to coming into 2009. With their new gig as the official house band for Jimmy Fallon’s late night show on NBC, the Philadelphian sextet will get to shine every week for the millions of viewers watching. Though this career move takes them into a different element of entertainment, they still have their eye on the Hip Hop world.

Speaking with DJ Semtex, ?uestlove gave his predictions on who to look out for in Hip Hop for the new year, including Harlem’s recent go-to auto-tuner and self-proclaimed “Ether Boy” producer, Ron Browz. “I think he’s probably gonna be the next sound of America. Jim Jones and Busta [Rhymes] got an early start on him,” said ?uestlove.

On a lower level of exposure, ?uest praised a group of rappers from the Houston area that caught his ear. “On the underground tip, there’s a crew from Houston, Texas. They’re a collective of like 12 emcees, with the initials HSIC. To me, the stuff that I heard from their MySpace page is the same feeling I got when I first heard Little Brother and what LB did for North Carolina underground Hip Hop. Or what Slum Village did for Detroit. I feel like these guys are gonna make Houston that next spot that you wouldn’t think is an underground Hip Hop spot.”

When asked who he felt would be the face of Hip Hop for ’09, ?uest gave an answer that may catch many by surprise. “You know what, there’s gonna be a sucker punch. I think [Jim] Jones is gonna come from out the shadows. Like for some reason I think Jones is gonna hit the bull’s eye with this album [Prey IV Reign].”

Continuing, ?uestlove stated, “I don’t think he needs Dipset. There’s a hustle about him… If he can just manage to churn out three to four songs to the level of ‘Pop Champagne,’ I think Jim Jones is gonna hustle his way to the celebritydom that he’s been vying for.”


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