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Ahmir Khalib Thompson (born January 20, 1971), known professionally as Questlove
Questlove
(stylized as ?uestlove), is an American percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, music journalist, record producer, and occasional actor. He is best known as the drummer and joint frontman (with Black Thought) for the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots. The Roots have been serving as the in-house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since February 17, 2014, as they have for the entire run of the show under Jimmy Fallon. Questlove
Questlove
is also one of the producers of the Broadway musical Hamilton. He is the cofounder of Okayplayer and Okayafrica.[1] Additionally, he is an adjunct instructor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
at New York University.[2] Questlove
Questlove
has produced recordings for artists including Elvis Costello, 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, The Beat Biters (with producers Just Blaze
Just Blaze
and 9th Wonder), The Grand Negaz, and The Grand Wizzards.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 1993–96: Beginnings with The Roots 2.2 1997–2003: Breakthrough, Soulquarians
Soulquarians
era, and increased output 2.3 2004–present: Continued output and other media endeavors

3 Filmography

3.1 Film 3.2 Television

4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Early life[edit] Ahmir Khalib Thompson was born into a musical family in Philadelphia on January 20, 1971. His father was Arthur Lee Andrews Thompson, from Goldsboro, North Carolina,[3] and went North in the Great Migration. A singer, he became known as Lee Andrews and was lead with Lee Andrews & the Hearts, a 50s doo-wop group.[4] Ahmir's grandfather Beachy Thompson had sung with the gospel group, The Dixie Hummingbirds.[5] Ahmir's mother, Jacquelin Thompson, together with his father, was also part of the Philadelphia-based soul group 'Congress Alley'.[citation needed] His parents did not want to leave the boy with babysitters, so they took him on tour with them.[6] 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 enrolled him at the Philadelphia
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
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. After graduating from high school, he took jazz and composition classes at the Settlement Music School.[7] Thompson began performing on South Street in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
using drums, while Tariq rhymed over his beats and rhythms. Thompson and Jay Lonick, a childhood friend, were known for improvisational "call and response" percussion battles with plastic buckets, crates, and shopping carts. This style translated into Thompson's usual drumset arrangement, with most drums and cymbals positioned at waist level, emulating his original street setups.[citation needed] From the PBS television series, Finding Your Roots, hosted by professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Questlove
Questlove
learned in December 2017 that he was descended in part from Charles and Maggie Lewis, his 3xgreat-grandparents, who had been taken captive in warfare and sold as slaves in the port of Ouidah, Dahomey
Dahomey
(now Benin) to American ship captain William Foster. They were among 110 slaves smuggled illegally to Mobile, Alabama, in July 1860 on the Clotilda. It was the last known slave ship to carry slaves to the United States. Questlove
Questlove
is the only guest to have appeared on Gates's program to be descended from slaves known by name, ship, and where they came from in Africa.[8][9] Career[edit] 1993–96: Beginnings with The Roots[edit]

Questlove
Questlove
at a New York book signing

Further information: The Roots The Roots' lineup was soon completed, with Questlove
Questlove
on drums and 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?!!!??!
Do You Want More?!!!??!
and Illadelph Halflife, respectively. 1997–2003: Breakthrough, Soulquarians
Soulquarians
era, and increased output[edit] See also: Soulquarians In 1999, The Roots
The Roots
had mainstream success with "You Got Me" (featuring Erykah Badu); the song earned the band the Grammy Award
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. Questlove
Questlove
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
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
Christian McBride
and Uri Caine, and the DJ of the compilation Questlove
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. In 2003, he played drums on John Mayer's song "Clarity" from his second album Heavier Things. He also arranged and drummed on Joss Stone's cover of the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl". 2004–present: Continued output and other media endeavors[edit]

Questlove
Questlove
performing for The Roots
The Roots
at the 2011 Ottawa Bluesfest

In 2004, The Roots
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
Questlove
appeared in Jay-Z's Fade to Black. In addition to appearing in the documentary portion of the film, Questlove
Questlove
was the drummer/musical director for all portions of the show with a live band. In 2005, Questlove
Questlove
appeared along with such luminaries as Madonna, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, and Little Richard in a television commercial for the Motorola ROKR
Motorola ROKR
phone. Questlove
Questlove
also appears for a short clip in the 2005 film, The Longest Yard. In 2006, Questlove
Questlove
appeared in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party, as well as a couple of skits on Chappelle's Show. These included the Tupac "The Lost Episodes" skit, and one featuring John Mayer, wherein Questlove
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 at the 2004 Brooklyn
Brooklyn
street concert and was the musical director for the entire show. Questlove
Questlove
was given an Esky for Best Scribe in Esquire magazine's 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue. In 2006, Questlove
Questlove
was one of a handful of musicians hand-picked by Steve Van Zandt to back Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr.
on a new version of "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" for the season premiere (and formal ESPN
ESPN
debut) of Monday Night Football. Along with his fellow Motorola ROKR
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 the same year he appeared in the studio album Fly of the Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari. In 2007, Questlove
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
Questlove
joined Ben Harper
Ben Harper
and John Paul Jones for the Bonnaroo
Bonnaroo
SuperJam on June 16, 2007, to play a 97-minute set.[10] In 2007 he provided the foreword for the book Check the Technique.[11] On March 2, 2009, Questlove
Questlove
and the Roots began their run as house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[12] He continues to perform with The Roots
The Roots
on The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Starring Jimmy Fallon, continuing his duties from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He occasionally performed solos titled, 're-mixing the clips', where he drew on his production and DJ abilities to dub video clips, cue audio samples in rhythm, and play drum breaks simultaneously. In late 2009, while serving as an associate producer of the hit Broadway play Fela!, Questlove
Questlove
recruited Jay-Z
Jay-Z
to come on board as a producer. It was reported that Will Smith
Will Smith
and Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith
have also signed on as producers.[13] In January 2010, he was writing material with British singer Duffy for her second album.[14] He has been featured in a commercial for Microsoft's short-lived mobile phone, the Kin. In 2010, he made a cameo in the music video of Duck Sauce's song "Barbra Streisand", and with The Roots
The Roots
released the album Dilla Joints with renditions of producer J Dilla's music. He contributed drums to the song "You've Got a Lot to Learn", which was recorded for the self-titled third studio album by Evanescence,[citation needed] but did not appear on the final release.[15] Questlove
Questlove
was planning to collaborate with Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
before her death in July 2011. He said "We're Skype
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."[16] Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
named Questlove
Questlove
#2 in the 50 Top Tweeters in Music. In June 2011, Questlove
Questlove
played drums alongside The Roots
The Roots
bassist Owen Biddle for Karmin's cover of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass."[17] Questlove
Questlove
placed 8th in the Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Readers Pick for Best Drummers of all Time. On June 18, 2013, Questlove
Questlove
released a memoir, Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. On October 22, 2013, Harper Design published the Questlove
Questlove
authored book, Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation.[18] Questlove
Questlove
released his third book, Something To Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs, along with co-author Ben Greenman and photographer Kyoko Hamada, which was published by Clarkson Potter Books on April 12, 2016.[19] In September 2016, Questlove
Questlove
launched a weekly radio show on Pandora, Questlove
Questlove
Supreme.[20] Notable guests have included Solange,[21] Chris Rock,[22] Maya Rudolph,[20] and Pete Rock,[23] among others. Questlove
Questlove
was interviewed by Alec Baldwin for the January 3, 2017 episode of Baldwin's WNYC podcast Here's The Thing, where he joked about being "obsessed" with his profile. During the interview, he also discussed his musical and cultural interests, how The Roots
The Roots
started a "movement" with three 15-passenger vans, and the impact of the loss of musical icons in 2016.[24] Filmography[edit]

Questlove
Questlove
at a June 19, 2013 book signing

Film[edit]

Year Title Role

2000 Bamboozled Actor

2001 Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Babylon Actor

2014 Finding the Funk Co-executive producer

2014 Top Five Executive music producer, composer

2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Himself

2016 Vincent-N-Roxxy Composer

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

2003 Street Time Composer 1 episode

2004 Chappelle's Show Original sketch music 12 episodes

2009–2014 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Musical director 969 episodes

2009 Yo Gabba Gabba! Actor 1 episode

2010 Nickelodeon Presents History and Heritage Composer Special

2010 VH1 Rock Docs Composer 1 episode

2011 iCarly Actor 1 episode

2011 Philly's 4th of July Jam Music director Special

2012 Independent Lens Composer 1 episode

2012 The Cleveland Show Voice 1 episode

2012 2012 Soul Train Awards Composer Special

2013 The Eric Andre Show Actor 1 episode

2013 Top Chef Himself 1 episode

2014–15 Inside Amy Schumer Composer, actor 11 episodes

2014 Law & Order: Special
Special
Victims Unit Actor 1 episode

2014–present The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Starring Jimmy Fallon Musical director 600+ episodes

2016 SoundClash Producer 1 episode

2015 Empire Voice 1 episode

2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Himself 1 episode

2015 Lucas Bros. Moving Co. Voice 1 episode

2015 Parks and Recreation Actor 1 episode

2016 Hamilton's America Additional music Special

2016 Night Train with Wyatt Cenac Actor 1 episode

2016 Roots Executive music producer 1 episode

2016 SPARKLE: A Don Quixote Story Producer 1 episode

2016–18 Drunk History Himself 2 episodes

In 2000 Questlove
Questlove
appeared with The Roots
The Roots
in Bamboozled, directed by Spike Lee. In 2001 Questlove
Questlove
appeared with many other Roots members as The Lions in Marc Levin's 2001 Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Babylon, in which Black Thought
Black Thought
had a starring role. In 2005, Questlove
Questlove
appeared with The Roots
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
Guldbagge Award
for best music together with Om'Mas Keith.[25] In 2013, Questlove
Questlove
appeared as himself on The Eric Andre Show
The Eric Andre Show
as a part of the show's band.[26] In 2014, Questlove
Questlove
appeared in the famous James Brown documentary Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown that was directed by Alex Gibney In 2015, Questlove
Questlove
appeared on Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation
as Levondrious, the estranged brother of Retta's character Donna Meagle. Questlove also appeared in a documentary film that depicts the life and death of Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
called Amy. In 2016, Questlove
Questlove
appeared in the film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping as himself. In December 2017, Questlove
Questlove
was one of the subjects of an episode the TV series Finding Your Roots, produced by Henry Louis Gates. He learned that one set of 3xgreat-grandparents had been taken captive in Ghana, sold as slaves to traders in Dahomey, and brought to the US illegally in 1860 on Clotilda, which had been adapted as a slave ship. References[edit]

^ Bischof, Jackie. " Questlove
Questlove
of The Roots
The Roots
Branches Out to Africa". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-01-03.  ^ [1] ^ Brandle, Lars (March 17, 2016). "Lee Andrews, Questlove's Dad and Frontman
Frontman
of Lee Andrews & the Hearts, Dies at 79". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 24, 2016.  ^ "Ahmir Thompson Reflects On His 'Roots'". NPR. March 13, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2012.  ^ Fresh Air with Terry Gross. " Questlove
Questlove
On Prince, Doo-Wop And The Food Equivalent Of The 'Mona Lisa'". NPR. Retrieved April 29, 2016.  ^ " Questlove
Questlove
on His Musical Upbringing, Hip-Hop's 40th, Soul Train and New Memoir, "Mo' Meta Blues"". Democracy Now!. August 14, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013.  ^ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson; Ben Greenman (June 18, 2013). Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4555-0136-6. Retrieved August 15, 2013.  ^ Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS: Finding Your Roots, Season 9: Episode 4, aired Dec. 12, 2017 ^ Boyd, Jared (December 18, 2017). "PBS show reveals Questlove descended from last known slave ship, which landed in Alabama". The Birmingham News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.  ^ "Superjam 2007 - Bonnaroo
Bonnaroo
- Artists". Bonnaroo. Retrieved May 9, 2011.  ^ "Wax Facts Press :: About the Book". Waxfacts.com. June 12, 2007. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.  ^ Farhi, Paul (March 1, 2009). "Ready or Not, Here Comes Jimmy Fallon To Update Late Night". Washington Post. p. M1. Retrieved February 28, 2009.  ^ Sutton, Benjamin (November 16, 2009). "?uestlove Recruits Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith
as Producers on Fela!
Fela!
The Measure". Thelmagazine.com. Retrieved May 9, 2011.  ^ "Singer Duffy begins new album sessions in New York BBC1 January 13, 2010". BBC News. January 13, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2011.  ^ " Evanescence
Evanescence
– Evanescence". Discogs. Discogs. 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014.  ^ Fox, Luke. "The Roots' Questlove
Questlove
• Interviews •". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved May 9, 2011.  ^ "Karmin's Cover of Super Bass". Cover of Super Bass. youtube.com. Retrieved August 8, 2011.  ^ https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Train-Music-Dance-Generation/dp/0062288385 ^ https://www.amazon.com/something-food-about-Creativity-Innovative/dp/0553459422 ^ a b " Questlove
Questlove
Lands His Own Radio Show on Pandora". Complex. Retrieved 2017-02-21.  ^ "Solange Reveals Why Master P's Influence Was Golden On Her Latest Album". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-02-21.  ^ " Questlove
Questlove
and Chris Rock
Chris Rock
nerd out over hip-hop on Juan Epstein podcast — listen". Consequence of Sound. 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2017-02-21.  ^ " Pete Rock
Pete Rock
interviewed on Questlove's Pandora show (read an excerpt)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2017-02-21.  ^ " Questlove
Questlove
Can't Take a Compliment". www.wnyc.org. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2017.  ^ "Här är alla vinnare av Guldbaggen 2012 Film Nöjesbladet Aftonbladet". Aftonbladet.se. January 23, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2014.  ^ "Chance the Rapper/Mel B". Adult Swim. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Christgau, Robert (June 17, 2013). "Give the Drummer
Drummer
Some". The Barnes & Noble Review. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Questlove.

Questlove's Celebrity Stories Questlove
Questlove
RBMA lecture Questlove
Questlove
on Police Racial Profiling, Stop & Frisk, the Message He Took from Trayvon Martin Verdict on Democracy Now! Questlove
Questlove
on His Musical Upbringing, Hip-Hop’s 40th, Soul Train and New Memoir, "Mo’ Meta Blues" on Democracy Now! Questlove
Questlove
discography at Discogs Questlove
Questlove
on IMDb

Media offices

Preceded by Max Weinberg Late Night bandleader March 2, 2009 – February 7, 2014 Succeeded by Fred Armisen

Preceded by Rickey Minor The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
bandleader February 17, 2014 – present Succeeded by Incumbent

v t e

The Roots

Black Thought Captain Kirk Douglas Damon "Tuba" Bryson Kamal Gray Mark Kelley James Poyser Questlove Stro Elliot

Owen Biddle Hub Ben Kenney Malik B. Rahzel Martin Luther Dice Raw Scratch F. "Knuckles" Walker Scott Storch

Studio albums

Organix (1993) Do You Want More?!!!??!
Do You Want More?!!!??!
(1994) Illadelph Halflife
Illadelph Halflife
(1996) Things Fall Apart (1999) Phrenology (2002) The Tipping Point (2004) Game Theory (2006) Rising Down
Rising Down
(2008) How I Got Over (2010) Undun (2011) ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
(2014)

Collaborations

Wake Up! (2010, with John Legend) Betty Wright: The Movie (2011, with Betty Wright) Wise Up Ghost
Wise Up Ghost
(2013, with Elvis Costello)

Live albums

The Roots
The Roots
Come Alive (1999) Jay-Z: Unplugged (2001, with Jay-Z)

Extended plays

From the Ground Up (1994) The Legendary
The Legendary
(1999)

Songs

"Proceed" (1995) "What They Do" (1996) "You Got Me" (1999) "The Next Movement" (1999) "Break You Off" (2002) "The Seed (2.0)" (2002) "Don't Say Nuthin'" (2004) "Star" (2004) "Don't Feel Right" (2006) "Here I Come" (2006) "How I Got Over" (2009) "Wake Up Everybody" (2010) "Make My" (2011) "It Ain't Fair" (2017)

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The Tonight Show
Starring Jimmy Fallon Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Babylon

v t e

The Tonight Show

Incarnations

Tonight Starring Steve Allen Tonight Starring Jack Paar The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Starring Johnny Carson The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
with Jay Leno The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
with Conan O'Brien The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Starring Jimmy Fallon

Episodes

Carson Leno O'Brien Fallon

The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Band

Kevin Eubanks and The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Band Max Weinberg
Max Weinberg
and The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Band Rickey Minor and The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
Band The Roots

Recurring sketches

Miss Miller Carnac the Magnificent Floyd R. Turbo Headlines Leno era sketches O'Brien era sketches Fallon era sketches

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The Steve Allen Show The Jay Leno Show "Johnny's Theme" Late Night Carson's Comedy Classics 1992 host conflict The Late Shift

film

2010 host and timeslot conflict The War for Late Night Johnny Carson: King of Late Night "Ew!" Lip Sync Battle Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Ross Mathews Helen Kushnick

v t e

Soulquarians

Questlove Bilal Common D'Angelo Erykah Badu J Dilla James Poyser Yasiin Bey / Mos Def Pino Palladino Q-Tip Talib Kweli

Albums

Things Fall Apart (1999) Voodoo (2000) Like Water for Chocolate (2000) Mama's Gun
Mama's Gun
(2000) 1st Born Second
1st Born Second
(2001) Phrenology (2002) Electric Circus (2002)

See also

Native Tongues Posse The Philadelphia
Philadelphia
Experiment The Randy Watson Experience The Ummah

v t e

Guldbagge Award
Guldbagge Award
for Best Original Score

Questlove
Questlove
& Om’Mas Keith (2011) Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson
(2012) Matti Bye (2013) Mattias Bärjed
Mattias Bärjed
& Jonas Kullhammar
Jonas Kullhammar
(2014) Lisa Holmqvist (2015) Jan Sandström (2016) Peter von Poehl
Peter von Poehl
(2017)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 7146483 LCCN: no2006067486 ISNI: 0000 0000 5415 4268 GND: 1023317745 BNF: cb166421478 (data) MusicBrainz: 9436fbf8-5498-43e9-9a8d-

.