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Questlove Biography: Parents, Songs, Albums, and Movies

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Ahmir Thompson, better known as “Questlove,” is a musician, songwriter, disc jockey, music journalist, film director, and drummer who was born on January 20, 1971, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He co-founded the hip-hop group the Roots with his friend Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. The Roots have been the in-house band for NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since 2014.

His father, Lee Andrews Thompson, was a member of the 1950s doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Five Hearts. Lee Thompson and his mother, Jacqui Thompson, were subsequently members of the Philadelphia soul/funk band Congress Alley. Beechy Thompson, his grandfather, sang gospel with the Dixie Hummingbirds.

Questlove grew up watching his parents perform onstage. He began drumming at the age of seven and became a musical director at the age of thirteen. In 1989, Questlove graduated from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Following graduation, he enrolled in jazz and composition classes at the Settlement Music School.


He and Tariq Trotter established the Square Roots in 1987, subsequently removing the “Square” to simply the Roots. Questlove on drums and percussions, Tariq Trotter and Malik B. on vocals, Josh Abrams (Rubber Band) on bass (replaced by Leonard Hubbard in 1994), and Scott Storch on keyboards were all members of the group by 1993.

While in Germany, they recorded the album Organix, which was released by Relativity Records in 1993, as well as two critically acclaimed singles, “Do You Want More?!!!??!” (1995) and “illadelph Halflife” (1996,) for Gaffen Records. The Roots recorded “You Got Me” with Erykah Badu in 1999, which won a Grammy for “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.”

Questlove served as executive producer for D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Slum Village’s Fantasia, Vol. 2, and Common’s Like Water for Chocolate in 2000. He joined the Philadelphia Experiment as drummer in 2001. He also contributed drums to Christina Aguilar’s song “Loving Me 4 Me.” The Roots released Phrenology the following year, which went gold.

In 2009, The Roots were named the house band for the show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and in 2014, the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Things Fall Apart, their debut album, has been acclaimed as a classic. Before Amy Whitehouse died in July 2011, he was planning to work with her. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Questlove second among the top 50 musicians on Twitter in 2011 and eighth among the “Best Drummers of All Time.”

Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Couldn’t Be Televised), directed by Questlove, premiered at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival (2021). In June 2013, his memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, was released. Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, his second book, was released in October 2013. Something to Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs, his third book, was published in 2016 with co-author Ben Greenman and photographer Kyoko Hamada.

Questlove is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.


Written by How Africa News

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