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Ahmir Khalib Thompson (born on January 20, 1971), known professionally as ?uestlove or Questlove (also known as BROther ?uestion or Brother Question), is an Americanmarker drummer, DJ, music journalist and record producer. He is best known as the drummer for the Grammy award winning band The Roots, which is now the in-house band for the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon show. He has produced for artists such as Common, D'Angelo, and more recently, Al Green and Nikka Costa. He is a member of the production teams the Soulquarians, the Grand Negaz, and The Grand Wizzards.

Biography

Early years

Thompson was born in Philadelphiamarker on January 20, 1971. His father was Lee Andrews of Lee Andrews & the Hearts, one of the great 50s doo-wop groups. 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 and jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco.

Questlove began performing on South Streetmarker in Philadelphia using drums, while Tariq rhymed over his beats and rhythms.

Professional music career

The Roots' roster 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 Germanymarker, 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. 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. Questlove shines in the final minute of this song as he unleashes a massive drum n' bass groove over the last chorus. The song helped fuel the success of their Things Fall Apart album which has since been hailed as a classic, eventually selling platinum. The group went the experimental route and returned in 2002 with the rock-influenced Phrenology, which went gold. Two years later, The Roots released The Tipping Point, which contained a more mainstream sound, allegedly due to demands from Interscope Records. The album sold well (400,000 copies), and Questlove shines in the bonus track remake of George Kranz's "Din Da Da."

Questlove at the Black Lily Film & Music Festival 2007 by Simba Madziva
Besides being the drummer for The Roots, Questlove has also lent his talents to other artists, projects, and productions.

He was the drummer for The Philadelphia Experiment, a collaborative instrumental jazz album featuring Christian McBride and Uri Caine, released on Ropeadope Records in 2001 and the DJ of the compilation Questlove Presents: Babies Making Babies, released on Urban Theory Records in 2002. 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 Ancestry In Progress, Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine, and Zack De La Rocha's currently unreleased solo material.

He played drums on Christina Aguilera's song "Loving Me 4 Me" for her 2002 album Stripped. He also arranged and drummed on Joss Stone's cover of the White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl".

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 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 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 skit on The Lost Episodes and a skit also featuring John Mayer where 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 Brooklynmarker 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.

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.

He is a playable character in the basketball video games NBA2k7 NBA 2K8 and NBA 2K9, capable of hitting the three-point shot with ease.

In 2007, Questlove co-produced with VH1's "The Score" winning producer Antonio "DJ Satisfaction" Gonzalez, from The Maniac All-Stars, the theme to VH1's Hip Hop Honors 2007.

He currently performs with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

In 2007 he provided the foreword for the book Check the Technique.

Fashion

In July 2008, Questlove collaborated with Nikemarker 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.”

Equipment

Questlove changes his drumset often, but this is what he is known to use (or has used in the past):

Yamaha drums:

Absolute Maple Nouveau

22 x 18 Bass Drum

14 x 14 Floor Tom

14 x 3.5 Snare Drum

14 x 5.5 Snare Drum

Zildjianmarker cymbals:

14" A Zildjian New Beat Hihats

20" Oriental Crash of Doom

24" K Constantinople Light Ride

Vic Firth sticks:

7a American Classic Drumsticks

References

External links




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