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It’s just past midnight on Dec. 7, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, drenched in sweat, lumbers down the stairs from the stage at New York City’s Highline Ballroom, one step at a time. His cymbal-shattering drum solo just put an exclamation point on The Roots’ raucous, one-and-a-half hour set, to commemorate the release of their 13th studio album, Undun. Questlove has a thriving Afro atop his hefty 6’4” frame, and as he reaches the bottom of the stairs, he lets out a deep sigh, gives me a pound, and says, “I’m worn down, man.” The pacesetter and de facto ringleader of The Roots has, to his credit, had one hell of a day.
And thus begins Marlow Stern’s 2500-word day with Questlove.