Happy Birthday Questlove: Performing Live With The Roots At Woodstock ‘99

Watch Quest and The Roots deliver classics like "The Next Movement," "Proceed" and "You Got Me" with Erykah Badu.

By Nate Todd Jan 20, 2022 12:51 pm PST

Today marks Questlove’s 51st birthday. The renowned drummer, songwriter, producer, author, filmmaker, music historian and Tonight Show co-bandleader was born Ahmir Khalib Thompson on January 20, 1971 in Philadelphia.

Thompson was immersed in music as a child, with both his mother and father singers in gospel, soul and doo-wop groups. Not wanting to leave him with a babysitter, Ahmir’s parents took him out on the road with them. Thompson began drumming at age 7 and later attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts alongside notable artists like Boyz II Men, jazz bassist Christian McBride, jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, vocalist Amel Larrieux and more.

By the time he graduated, Quest had co-founded The Roots with MC Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought, in 1987 with fellow MC Malik B. joining soon after. By the mid-90’s, The Roots had rounded out their lineup with keyboardist Kamal Gray and bassist Leonard “Hub” Hubbard among others. Sadly, Malik died on July 29, 2020 while Hubbard passed away just over a month ago on December 16, 2021.

The Roots became known for their full-band brand of jazz-infused hip-hop releasing landmark albums like 1995’s Do You Want More?!!!??! (following their 1993 debut Organix), 1996’s Illadelph Halflife and 1999’s Things Fall Apart. The summer after the latter’s release, The Legendary Roots Crew performed at Woodstock ‘99.

The Roots — Quest, Thought, Hub and Kamal along with beatboxer Scratch — took the stage playing percussion instruments before Black Thought led the group through “Without A Doubt” while navigating some sound issues without missing a beat before the band hopped on their melodic instruments for “Table Of Contents.” The set also featured Roots classics like the “hot music” of Things Fall Apart track “The Next Movement” and the LP’s “Step Into The Realm”, along with Do You Want More’s “Proceed” and “Mellow My Man,” the latter mashed up with “Jusufckwithis.”

Frequent Roots collaborator and MC Dice Raw then joined in on “Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’ New” before the band went it alone on sole Illadelph Halflife track, “Concerto Of The Desperado,” and Do You Want More’s “The Ultimate.” Dice Raw then returned to help on “Adrenaline!” and “Don’t See Us” before The Roots welcomed Erykah Badu as Kamal played the instantly recognizable opening strains to the Grammy-winning Things Fall Apart single “You Got Me.” It was then Quest’s turn to shine on a drum solo followed by spotlights for Kamal and Hub ahead of Scratch showing off his beatbox skills to close the set.

To celebrate Questlove’s birthday, watch The Roots perform at Woodstock ‘99 below:


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Woodstock Poland (See 2 videos)
The Roots (See 16 videos)

Setlist

The Roots at Griffiss Air Force Base

  • Without a Doubt
  • Table of Contents
  • The Next Movement
  • Step Into the Realm
  • Proceed
  • Mellow My Man/Jusufckwithis
  • Ain't Sayin' Nothin' New
  • Concerto of the Desperado
  • The Ultimate
  • Adrenaline!
  • You Got Me  
  • Don't See Us
  • You Got Me
  • Questlove solo
  • Kamal solo
  • Hub solo
  • Scratch solo

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