10 Questions for Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson

The Roots' drummer Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson on hair, human pyramids and teaching the hip-hop canon

Peter Hapak for TIME

According to your book, Mo Meta Blues, your childhood was blissful. Does that make it difficult for you as a rap star?
Nine times out of 10, the grittier the narrative, the more engaged the viewing public. But I've kind of taken the weird route less traveled--there is no aspirational rags-to-riches story. Most of the Roots came from middle-class households.

You tell your story through albums. Which was the most important?
The record that had the first impact on me was Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. When I was in first grade, we spent two weeks...

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