This Week in Hip-Hop/R&B History: Happy Birthday Questlove!


— Today, we take a brief look at the long list of achievements belonging to Questlove, as we celebrate the 47th birthday the Philly-born musical genius.

Amir Khalib Thompson, more commonly known as Questlove (or ?uestlove), first broke into the world of Hip-Hop as the co-founder, drummer, and percussionist for the Philly-based band, The Roots. After releasing their debut album, Organix, in 1993, The Roots were able to achieve critical acclaim with the releases of Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

The Roots, with Questlove and rapper Black Thought at its helm, continued to shock and awe with their uniquely eclectic approach to Hip-Hop including their heavy use of live instrumentation. The group followed their early successes with a string of classic projects including Things Fall Apart, Phrenology, Tipping Point, Game Theory, and even most recently 2014’s …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.

However, even throughout The Roots’ continued success, Questlove has made a huge name for himself as a solo artist and occasional actor. He has served as executive producer for D’Angelo’s 2000 album Voodoo, Slum Village’s Fantastic, Vol. 2, and Common’s albums Like Water for Chocolate and Electric Circus. He’s also contributed as a producer or drummer on Erykah Badu’s Baduizm and Mama’s Gun, Dilated Peoples’ Expansion Team, Bilal’s 1st Born Second, Blackalicious’ Blazing Arrow, N*E*R*D’s Fly or Die, and more. He’s also collaborated with a number of non-Hip-Hop/R&B acts such as John Mayer, Joss Stone, Zap Mama, Uri Caine, and Fiona Apple.

Beyond actual albums and compilations of music, Questlove has also participated in a number of other music-related endeavors. In 2004, Questlove appeared in Jay Z’s Fade to Black documentary as well as acted as the drummer and musical director for all portions of the show with a live band. He also appeared in the film Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and even featured in few skits on Chappelle’s Show.

In 2009, Questlove and The Roots began their stint as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but moved to The Tonight Show in 2014 along with Fallon himself. Since 2013, Questlove has released 3 books, Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, and Something To Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs.

Questlove’s list of accomplishments and pending projects goes on and on as he ensures that Hip-Hop lives on in the best way possible. With that being said, his importance to Hip-Hop should never go unnoticed or unappreciated.

So, make sure you wish Questlove a happy birthday and be sure to check out his weekly podcast, Questlove Supreme.

Written by DJ Robinson