Give the Drummer Some

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  • The Roots, ?uestlove, Questlove
  • Bob Marley, The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Carlton Barrett
  • Will Calhoun, Living Colour
  • Sheila E, Prince, Marvin Gaye, George Duke, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Beyonce, Kanye West
  • Art Blakey, Arthur "Art" Blakey, Terrence Blanchard, Kevin Eubanks, Benny Golson, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Billy Eckstine, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker
  • The Time, Janet Jackson, Mint Condition, Stokley Williams, Morris Day, Prince, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson, Monte Moir
  • Max Roach, Duke, Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker
  • Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown
  • Dennis Chambers, George Clinton, Benjamin “Benzel Baltimore” Cowan,  Bennie “The General” Cowan
  • Michael Bland, Prince, Clay Aiken, Chaka Khan, Backstreet Boys, SoulAsylum, Maxwell
  • Sly Dunbar, Sly & Robbie, Black Uhuru, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones,  Simply Red,  Sting,  Doug E. Fresh, Carlos Santana, Sinéad O'Connor, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Ini Kamoze, Beenie Man
  • Dennis Chambers, George Clinton, Carlos Santana, George Duke, John Scofield
  • OutKast, John Steward, Big Boi, Fishbone
  • Travis Barker, Blink-182,  Lil Wayne, Yelawolf, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg

Rising Up

The drum. The world's first-known musical instrument. It mimics the heartbeat. It's a call to war. And it spreads love with an ubiquitous sound that permeates throughout genres and cultures. Only the most committed have made it a craft.

Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, for one, is the drummer and a frontman of the legendary hip hop band the Roots. He got his start on stage as early as 7 years old as a drummer, and became a musical director as young as 13. He's since banged out with and produced tracks for Bilal, Common, D'Angelo, Erykah BaduJay ZJill Scott and more, and has parlayed his music into film appearances, a Nike shoe (the Questo), and an endorsement deal for the Breakbeats drum kit by Ludwig.

As we celebrate Black Music Month, read on for more percussionists who have left their drum-patterned mark... before the music dies. Michael Harris (@IceBlueVA)

(Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

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