PST Live feat. DJ Questlove and DJ Sake One Performing Live at Yoshi's San Francisco.
?uestlove (pronounced "Questlove") is the stage name of Ahmir Khalib Thompson, born January 20, 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an African-American musician, DJ, Journalist, and record producer, best known as the drummer for hip-hop band The Roots. ?uestlove's peerless drumming, production and engineering work is regarded bar none by music critics as some of the most innovative work seen in Urban Music. He has also produced for artists such as Common and D'Angelo and member of the production teams Grand Negaz and The Grand Wizzards.
Thompson's father was Lee Andrews of Lee Andrews & the Hearts, a 50s doo-wop group. His parents did not want to leave him with babysitters, so took him on tour with them. He grew up in backstages of doo-wop shows, and began drumming at the age of two. By the age of seven, Thompson began drumming on stage at shows, and by 13, had become a musical director.
As a teenager, ?uestlove's parents 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). ?uestlove's classmates at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts included Boyz II Men, jazz bassist Christian McBride, and jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco.
?uestlove began performing on South Street (akin to Greenwich Village and Haight Ashbury) in Philadelphia using drums, while Tariq rhymed over his beats and rhythms.
The Roots' roster was soon completed, with ?uestlove 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. 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. ?uestlove 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 gold. The group went the experimental route and returned in 2002 with the rock-influenced Phrenology, which also went gold. Two years later, The Roots released The Tipping Point, which contained a more mainstream sound, due to demands from Geffen records. The album did not sell very well (400,000 copies), although ?uestlove shines in the bonus track remake of George Kranz's "Din Da Da."
Besides being the drummer for The Roots, ?uestlove 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 musicians from Philadelpia, released on Rope-a-Dope Records in 2001 and the DJ of the compilation ?uestlove 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' 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, among others.
Played drums on Christina Aguilera's song "Loving Me 4 Me" for her 2002 album "Stripped". His drum skills were also featured in Joss Stone's cover of the White Stripes' Fell in Love with a Boy.
In 2005, ?uestlove appeared, along with such luminaries as Madonna, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, and Little Richard, in a television commercial for the Motorola ROKR phone.
In 2006, ?uestlove appeared as himself in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party, as well as in the Tupac skit on The Dave Chappelle Show: The Lost Episodes . With the exception of The Fugees, ?uestlove served as the drummer for nearly every performer at the 2004 Brooklyn street concert.
?uestlove was given an Esky for Best Scribe in Esquire magazine's 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue.
?uestlove was one of a handful of musicians hand-picked by Miami 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, ?uestlove's bandmates included Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Charlie Daniels, and Bernie Worrell. -jambase