Basic Background Info

Birth: January 20, 1971
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Band: The Roots
Genres: Alternative, Hip-Hop
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, DJ, Journalist, Producer



Ahmir Khalibís ability to play both the meticulous rhythms of modern hip-hop and the loose grooves of R&B are unmatched. His timing can be so perfect that he enjoys making his listeners guess whether they're listening to a real player or a machine. Nonetheless, he gives every performance a decidedly human feel.

Ahmir Khalib Thompson, better known as ?uestlove, the drummer for The Roots, joined his father, leader of doo-wop group Lee Andrews & the Hearts, on tour as a young child. Seven-year-old Ahmir performed on stage and at thirteen he was a musical director.

?uestlove created The Square Roots with classmate Tariq Trotter while enrolled at Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Vocalist Malik B, bassist Josh Abrams, and keyboardist Scott Storch joined the Roots for their first release, Organix, in 1993. Critics hailed their subsequent albums, Do You Want More ?!!??! and Illadelph Halflife. In 2000 they won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for their song, "You Got Me," featuring vocals by Erykah Badu and a roaring drum and bass groove throughout the last chorus by Ahmir. The Roots' success continued with subsequent albums, even when they took a more mainstream route, incorporating more elements of standard rock.

?uestlove also worked with many other artists as both a drummer and a producer. Ahmir mixed the compilation ?uestlove Presents: Babies Making Babies in 2000. He was the executive producer for D'Angelo's 2000 album Voodoo, Slum Village's Fantastic Vol. 2, and Common's Like Water for Chocolate and Electric Circus. Ahmir has also recently worked with Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone, and Jay-Z.

The Roots released their most recent album, ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, in 2014.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1992 Journey to Truth Steve Williamson
1993 Organix The Roots
1994 Do You Want More?!!!??! The Roots
1996 High School High Original Soundtrack
1996 Illadelph Halflife The Roots
1996 Just Say Noel Various Artists
1996 New Groove: The Blue Note Remix Project, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1997 In tha Beginning...There Was Rap Various Artists
1997 Men in Black Original Soundtrack
1998 Hav Plenty Original Soundtrack
1999 Roots Come Alive The Roots
1999 What You Want The Roots
2000 Like Water for Chocolate Common
2000 Luaka Bop 10th Anniversary: Zero Accidents on the Job Various Artists
2001 Everybody Got Their Something Nikka Costa
2001 Expansion Team Dilated Peoples
2001 Gemini: Both Sides Sandra St. Victor
2001 Zen DJ Krush
2002 Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti Various Artists
2003 From Thought to Finish Schoolz of Thought
2003 Here Comes the Fuzz Mark Ronson
2003 Heavier Things John Mayer
2004 Collateral Original Soundtrack
2004 Everybody Got Their Something Nikka Costa
2004 Tipping Point The Roots
2004 True Love Toots & The Maytals
2005 Momentum Joshua Redman Elastic Band
2006 Game Theory The Roots
2007 Baduizm Erykah Badu
2008 Rising Down The Roots
2008 Lay It Down Al Green
2008 The Best of Al Jarreau: An Excellent Adventure Al Jarreau
2008 The Abstract Best, Vol.1 Q-Tip
2009 Re: Generations Nat King Cole
2010 Wake Up! The Roots
2010 Villa Manifesto Slum Village
2010 The Sea Corrine Bailey Rae
2010 New Ameryka Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh Erykah Badu
2010 Mind, Body & Soul/The Soul Sessions Joss Stone
2010 Love Me Back James Sullivan
2010 How I Got Over The Roots
2010 Endlessly Duffy
2011 The Best of Joss Stone 2003-2009 Joss Stone
2011 SuperHeavy SuperHeavy
2011 Lioness: Hidden Treasures Amy Winehouse
2011 Betty Wright: The Movie Betty Wright
2012 The Duke Joe Jackson
2012 La Sesion Cubana Zucchero
2013 Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs Elvis Costello
2013 Red Hot + Fela Various Artists


  • Ahmir appeared in an advertisement for Motorola's ROKR with Madonna, Iggy Pop, Bootsy Collins, and Little Richard in 2005.
  • Ahmir appeared in Dave Chappele's film Block Party and on his television show.
  • Esquire magazine awarded Ahmir with an Esky for Best Scribe in their 2006 Music Awards.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Yamaha
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Yamaha
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips