Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is the drummer and co-founder, with
his former high school classmate Tariq Trotter, of the hip-hop
group the Roots. The son of doo-wop star Lee Andrews, Thompson was
exposed to music at an early age and performing on drums by the age
of seven. His parents enrolled him at the Philadelphia High School
for the Creative and Performing Arts, where he was exposed to a
wide range of music and other performing arts.
Questlove has an active career in music outside of his work with the Roots. He has produced the work of such artists as Common, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Jay-Z and, more recently, Al Green, Amy Winehouse, and John Legend. He has played drums on albums by Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, and Joshua Redman, to name a few, and was one of a handful of musicians picked to back Hank Williams Jr. on a new version of “All My Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” for the season premiere of Monday Night Football.
In 2001 Questlove helped create the Philadelphia Experiment, a collaborative instrumental jazz trio with bassist Christian McBride and avant-garde jazz pianist Uri Caine. In 2011 he partnered with Parisian star Keren Ann to present Philly-Paris Lockdown, a one-night celebration of 1900s Paris that took place at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. In 2012 he conceived and curated Shuffle Culture, a multi-artist concert engagement produced by BAM that explored technology’s role in our relationship with modern music. In addition to the list of awards and nominations he has received as a member of the Roots, Thompson was named Best Scribe in Esquire’s 2006 Esky Music Awards, was ranked 2nd in Rolling Stone’s list of “50 Top Tweeters in Music,” and placed 8th in a Rolling Stone reader’s poll for “Best Drummers of all Time.”