born on 20/1/1971 in Philadelphia, PA, United States
Ahmir Khalib Thompson (born on January 20, 1971), known professionally as ?uestlove or Questlove (also known as BROther ?uestion, Questo, Brother Question or Qlove), is an American drummer, DJ, music journalist and record producer. He is best known as the drummer and joint frontman (with Black Thought) for the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots, which is now the in-house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
He has produced for artists such as Common, D'Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Jay-Z, Nikka Costa and more recently, Al Green, Amy Winehouse and John Legend. He is a member of the production teams the Soulquarians, The Randy Watson Experience, The Soultronics and The Grand Wizzards.
Thompson was born in Philadelphia on January 20, 1971. His father was Lee Andrews of Lee Andrews & the Hearts, a 50s doo-wop group. His mother, Jacqui Andrews, together with his father was also part of the Philadelphia based soul group Congress Alley. His parents did not want to leave him with babysitters, so they took him on tour with them. He grew up in backstages of doo-wop shows. By the age of seven, Thompson began drumming on stage at shows, and by 13, had become a musical director.
Questlove's parents then enrolled him at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. By the time he graduated, he had founded a band called The Square Roots (later dropping the word "square") with his friend Tariq Trotter (Black Thought). Questlove's classmates at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts included Boyz II Men, jazz bassist Christian McBride, jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, and singer Amel Larrieux. He attended senior prom with Larrieux.
Questlove began performing on South Street in Philadelphia using drums, while Tariq rhymed over his beats and rhythms.
199396: Beginnings with The Roots
- Further information: The Roots
The Roots' lineup was soon completed, with Questlove on percussion, Tariq Trotter and Malik B on vocals, Josh Abrams (Rubber Band) on bass (who was replaced by Leonard Hubbard in 1994), and Scott Storch on keyboards. While the group was performing a show in Germany, they recorded an album entitled Organix, released by Relativity Records in 1993.
The group continued recording, releasing two critically acclaimed records in 1995 and 1996, Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife, respectively.
1997-2003: Breakthrough, Soulquarians era, and increased output
- See also: Soulquarians
In 1999, The Roots entered mainstream pop consciousness with "You Got Me" (featuring Erykah Badu); a song which would earn the band the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for 2000. The song helped fuel the success of their Things Fall Apart album, which has since been hailed as a classic, eventually selling platinum.
He also served as executive producer for D'Angelo's 2000 album Voodoo, Slum Village's album Fantastic, Vol. 2 and Common's albums Like Water for Chocolate and Electric Circus. Besides the aforementioned albums, he has also contributed as a drummer or producer to Erykah Badu's Baduizm and Mama's Gun, Dilated Peoples' Expansion Team, Blackalicious's Blazing Arrow, Bilal's 1st Born Second, N*E*R*D's Fly or Die, Joshua Redman's Momentum, and Zap Mama's Axel Norman Ancestry In Progress, Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine, and Zack De La Rocha's currently unreleased solo material.
In 2001, he collaborated as the drummer for The Philadelphia Experiment, a collaborative instrumental jazz album featuring Christian McBride and Uri Caine, and the DJ of the compilation Questlove Presents: Babies Making Babies, released on Urban Theory Records in 2002. He played drums on Christina Aguilera's song "Loving Me 4 Me" for her 2002 album Stripped. In 2002, he and The Roots released the critically acclaimed Phrenology, which went gold.
2004present: Continued output and other media endeavors
In 2004, The Roots released The Tipping Point, which contained a more mainstream sound, allegedly due to demands from Interscope Records. The album sold 400,000 copies. In 2004, Questlove appeared in Jay-Z's Fade to Black. In addition to appearing in the documentary portion of the film, Questlove was the drummer/musical director for all portions of the show with a live band. In 2005, Questlove appeared along with such luminaries as Madonna, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, and Little Richard in a television commercial for the Motorola ROKR phone. Questlove also appears for a short clip in the 2005 film, The Longest Yard.
In 2006, Questlove appeared in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party as well as a couple of skits on Chappelle's Show, including the Tupac "The Lost Episodes" skit and a skit featuring John Mayer wherein Questlove performs in a barber shop, inducing the occupants to dance and rap. With the exception of The Fugees and Jill Scott, Questlove served as the drummer for nearly every performer at the 2004 Brooklyn street concert and was the musical director for the entire show. Questlove was given an Esky for Best Scribe in Esquire magazine's 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue. In 2006, Questlove was one of a handful of musicians hand-picked by Little Steve Van Zandt to back Hank Williams Jr. on a new version of "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" for the season premiere (and formal ESPN debut) of Monday Night Football. Along with his fellow Motorola ROKR commercial co-stars, Bootsy Collins and Little Richard, Questlove's bandmates included Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Charlie Daniels, and Bernie Worrell.
In 2007, Questlove co-produced with VH1's The Score winning producer Antonio "DJ Satisfaction" Gonzalez, from The Maniac Agenda, the theme to VH1's Hip Hop Honors 2007. Questlove joined Ben Harper and John Paul Jones for the Bonnaroo SuperJam on June 16, 2007, to play a 97 minute set. In 2007 he provided the foreword for the book Check the Technique.
In late 2009, while serving as an associate producer of the hit Broadway play Fela!, he recruited Jay-Z to come on board as a producer. It was reported that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have also signed on as producers.
In January 2010, he was writing material with British singer Duffy for her second album. He has been featured in a commercial for Microsoft's short-lived mobile phone, the Kin. In 2010, he was a cameo in the music video of Duck Sauce's song "Barbra Streisand". In 2010, In an act of great musicianship the legendary Roots-crew pay respect to the late and great J Dilla offering their renditions of the producers greatest hits. The featured mixtape belongs easily to the most sublime tributes to J Dilla we have seen to date. Enjoy in this highest form of appreciation, the album is called Dilla Joints.
He contributed drums to the song "You've Got a Lot to Learn", a single on Evanescence's self-titled third album. 2011 - Guest DJ at LA Food & Wine's Decadence after party
Questlove was planning to collaborate with Amy Winehouse before her death in July 2011. He said "We're Skype buddies, and she wants to do a project with Mos and me. Soon as she gets her visa thing together, that's gonna happen." Rolling Stone named Questlove #2 in the 50 Top Tweeters in Music. In June 2011, Questlove played drums alongside The Roots bassist Owen Biddle for YouTube sensation Karmin's cover of Nicki Minaj's Super Bass. Questlove placed 8th in the Rolling Stone Readers Pick for Best Drummers of all Time.
He currently performs with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, occasionally performing solos titled 're-mixing the clips' where he draws on his production and DJ abilities to dub video clips, cue audio samples in rhythm, and play drum breaks simultaneously.
In 2001 Questlove appeared with many other Roots members as The Lions in Marc Levin's 2001 Brooklyn Babylon, in which Black Thought had a starring role.
In 2005, Questlove appeared with The Roots in Dave Chappelle's Block Party  and the following year, he appeared in the popular music film, Before the Music Dies. His latest appearances include Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest and documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2010) for which he won the Swedish Guldbagge award for best music together with Om'Mas Keith.
In July 2008, Questlove collaborated with Nike to design the Questlove x Nike 1World Air Force 1 shoe. The shoe's color is a blend of burgundy leather and red canvas with neon green elephant print. It has red shoelaces, a lasered silhouette of Questlove on the back of the shoe which is also featured on the left tongue, and a gold colored Nike swoosh logo. Questlove states that these shoes are "an extension of [his] personality" as he strives to make "a very loud statement, a sneaker that sort of has 12 exclamation points behind it."
Questlove's 2nd Nike Questo sneaker will be released in mid February 2011. The shoe will be a combination of 4 popular Nike designs: the exterior body will be the Dunk (footwear), the interior cushion will be based on the Nike Delta Force, the sole will be the Air Force 1 (shoe), and the swoosh will come from the Nike Blazers. The shoe's color will be a premium leather red with a white swoosh. The velcro front has 6 clear buttons to give the look of a dress shirt. A lasered silhouette of Questlove is also featured on the both tongues. There will also be limited edition versions sans velcro in all yellow and white sole and all black.
Questlove changes his drumset often, but this is what he is known to use (or has used in the past):
Vic Firth sticks: drumsticks
- Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson (SAT) Signature Drumsticks
- 14" A Zildjian & CIE Vintage crash Hihats
- 20" Oriental Crash of Doom
- 24" K Light Ride
As of June 2012, he endorses Ludwig Drums
- npr.org (13 March 2009). Ahmir Thompson Reflects On His 'Roots'. NPR. Retrieved on 11 August 2012.
- YouTube (3 August 2010). ?uestlove (Questlove) Record Library. afroart3000. Retrieved on 27 September 2012.
- Superjam 2007 - Bonnaroo - Artists. Bonnaroo. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
- Wax Facts Press :: About the Book. Waxfacts.com (2007-06-12). Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
- Sutton, Benjamin (2009-11-16). ?uestlove Recruits Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as Producers on Fela! | The Measure. Thelmagazine.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
- Singer Duffy begins new album sessions in New York BBC1 January 13, 2010. BBC News (2010-01-13). Retrieved on 2011-10-24.
- Fox, Luke. The Roots' Questlove Interviews . Exclaim.ca. Retrieved on 2011-05-09.
- Karmin's Cover of Super Bass. Cover of Super Bass. youtube.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-08.
- Block Party (2005) - IMDb
- Before the Music Dies (2006) - IMDb
- Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011) - IMDb
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011) - IMDb
- Winners of Guldbaggen 2012 - http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/film/article14255208.ab
- "STATS", Eddie (2012-06-07). Okayplayer Exclusive: Free Questlove Breakbeat On His New Ludwig Drum Kit. Okayplayer. Retrieved on 2012-09-10.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Questlove
- Questlove discography
- Questlove at the Internet Movie Database
- Questlove at MySpace
- Questlove on Twitter
- Questlove's Celebrity Stories
- Questlove RBMA lecture
Owen Biddle · Black Thought · Captain Kirk Douglas · Damon "Tuba" Bryson · F. Knuckles · Kamal Gray · James Poyser · Questlove|
Hub · Ben Kenney · Malik B. · Rahzel · Martin Luther · Dice Raw · Scratch · Scott Storch
|Studio albums||Organix (1993) · Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995) · Illadelph Halflife (1996) · Things Fall Apart (1999) · Phrenology (2002) · The Tipping Point (2004) · Game Theory (2006) · Rising Down (2008) · How I Got Over (2010) · Wake Up! (2010)|
|Live albums||The Roots Come Alive (1999) · Jay-Z: Unplugged (2001)|
|EPs||From the Ground Up (1994) · The Legendary (1999)|
|Songs||"The Next Movement" (1999) · "You Got Me" (1999) · "The Seed (2.0)" (2002) "Wake Up Everybody" (2010) "Doin' It Again" (2011)|
|Related articles||Discography · Late Night with Jimmy Fallon|
|Black Star | Reflection Eternal | Slum Village | The Roots|
|?uestlove | Bilal | Common | D'Angelo | Erykah Badu | J Dilla | James Poyser | Mos Def | Q-Tip | Talib Kweli|
|1st Born Second | Amplified | Be | Baduizm | Black on Both Sides | Black Star | Brown Sugar | Can I Borrow a Dollar? | Champion Sound | Donuts | Eardrum | Electric Circus | Fantastic, Vol. 1 | Fantastic, Vol. 2 | Finding Forever | Funky Cousins (Demo) | Game Theory | Heartache | James River | Jay Love Japan | Kamaal the Abstract | Like Water for Chocolate | Live | Live at the Jazz Cafe | Mama's Gun | One Day It'll All Make Sense | Open | Quality | Relive The Moment | Resurrection | Ruff Draft | The Beautiful Struggle | The New Danger | The Shining | The Shining Instrumentals | Train of Thought | Tru3 Magic | Voodoo | Welcome 2 Detroit | Worldwide Underground|