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Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove Hardcover – June 18, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Attention White Girls: Stop reading about vampires and read what Questlove has to say instead. Mo' Meta Blues is a magical kaleidoscope about a high concept, low maintenance genius named Ahmir. Like him, it's smart, funny, sweet and in a thousand places at once. Read it or rot on your vine."
--Amy Poehler

"Questlove is an artistic giant and spiritual genius whose roots go back to Curtis Mayfield and so many others. This book is a gem to read and a joy to feel! Don't miss it!"
--Dr. Cornel West

"I truly love this book. I felt like I was having a conversation with Ahmir, and I may have even said aloud a few times, "What? No way!" It's everything I want to know about someone who is obsessed with music...his love for music (contemporary/revolutionary/cool) is tireless. I am forever a fan of Questlove's fanaticism."
--Fred Armisen

"A busy thicket of musical geekery . . . likable . . . funny . . . MO' META BLUES has an open-mike, improv-night spirit . . . The end pages on my copy are crammed with song titles; they resemble the back of a popular girl's senior yearbook." --Dwight Garner, New York Times

"Smart, funny, insightful . . . [The] joy of this book is getting to live inside Questlove's jam-packed, restless brain for a while . . . Four stars." --Rolling Stone


"MO' META BLUES isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a postmodern black man saddled with some postmodern blues. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind. It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes. It's a record that keeps going around and around.

"[MO' META BLUES] is incredible . . . [Questlove is] one of the more unabashed music geeks to ever walk the earth . . . a student of music and pop culture. But, as the book demonstrates, Thompson is also a wonderful storyteller." --Pitchfork.com


"A thoughtful, incisive analysis of hip hop-and pop music in general-from one of its foremost contemporary architects . . . a book with as much warmth, heart, and humor as introspective intelligence. Fanatics and newcomers to the music will both find plenty of revelation here." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"A hip hop thinker with historical perspective . . . an excellent book." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"After reading it, you'll feel like you know Questlove. The book is intimate and funny. Plus, you'll come away with a crash course in hip-hop history." --NPR.org

About the Author

Ahmir Thompson, also known as Questlove, is the drummer and co-founder of the Grammy award-winning hip hop band The Roots. He is also a world-renowned producer, arranger, and songwriter. In 2009, The Roots became the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Questlove has over 2.4 million followers on Twitter and has been known to DJ damn near every night of his life.

Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, Please Step Back, and What He's Poised to Do. As a journalist and critic, he has written widely on music and pop culture. His most recent novel is The Slippage. He lives in Brooklyn and has never been known to DJ, ever.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455501352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455501359
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason S. Stokar on June 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The title of this review is taken from a line in this memoir, and is delivered by Questlove's manager Rich, who appears throughout the book as somewhat of a music "Sensei" to the prolific drummer. Applying this proverbial phrase to Hip-Hop really struck a chord with me. It fits perfectly: Hip-Hop is the culmination of so many musical genres before it, it spearheads the future of popular music, samples (borrows) from great songs and styles, and lyrically continues the tradition of the 'blues' with expression of struggle and doubt.

I was indecisive on rating this book three or four stars, but ultimately "rounded up" because I feel it's more difficult to write about a modern musician than one from decades ago, say, a Carole King (whose auto-biography is a "must-read" for any music fan: A Natural Woman: A Memoir). Also, rock star Marilyn Manson once said in an interview, "I try not to explain my music, I let my music explain me". I think that wisdom applies here as well -- while the writing is interesting, I believe Mr. Thompson's music is the true 'World According to Questlove".

What I like about this memoir is he covers a lot of ground by moving quickly. It's evident that if permitted, he could write an Epic about music that has inspired him over the years. Instead, it seems that he is forced to select one album per year of his life in a recurring segment called "Quest Loves Records". Additionally, he discusses in great depth both the artistry and political sides of the music industry (e.g. the art of reconciling an underground and commercial sound, the effect of bouncing around major labels, the process and goal of the band when crafting each of their albums).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. It's like a short history of hip hop, The Roots, Questlove, and more. He brings up so many good points. Music is a language. It's always communicating something. This book gives an honest and clear look at where hip hop came from, where it might be going, the dilemmas and joys of music-making and movement-making, and all the important questions at hand. I am in love with the perspective and appreciate for music shown by Questlove. I am a music teacher, and as such, his use of albums like textbooks is perfection to me. I am so excited about this book. And what's more, it's an easy and enjoyable read. You won't want to put it down!
"The exceptions don't prove the rule. They shame it. They banish it." ~ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, pg. 56
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Music has the power to stop time but music also keeps time."

Mo' Meta Blues was a delightful musical journey. Sure Thompson shared the details of his life but it was more like the soundtrack of his life.
I appreciated the fact that this book was not structured like a chronological biography. There were memos from the publisher, footnotes from The Roots comanager, and extended playlists spread throughout the text.

"When you live your life through records, the records are a record of your life."

There was not a time when music was not apart of Thompson's life. His parents had a band and Thompson likened them to Johnny Cash and June Carter. Thompson was tapping out patterns at eight months old which blossomed into a drumming career. He obsessed over album reviews and covers. The small details and obscure facts that he shared throughout the book about certain pieces of music, groups, and individuals kept the book interesting.

It is no secret that Thompson is a Prince fan and his affinity for the artist is as prominent in the book as is his presence in The Roots band. The Roots individually and as a band come together and take shape in the text but those experiences do not overshadow or dominate. It's quite obvious that Ahmir and Tariq "Black Thought" are total opposites but make for a great balance within the band. Only a few weeks prior to reading this book I found out that Scott Storch was an original member of The Roots. Thompson mentioned Storch but considering his rise and fall in hip-hop I expected and wanted more details in regards to their relationship.

This would not be a legit hip-hop memoir unless the Source Music Awards of 1995 were mentioned. Thompson referred to the show as hip-hop's funeral.
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I was looking to this as a memoir of a fascinating cultural phenomenon, but most of it was really detailed information about his musical tastes and background. I like music as much as the next chick, but I wanted more about his education, his political views, and his friendships. If you want to read every detail about every B side of every funk music from 1981, this is the book for you. If you are looking for an insightful memoir about ?uestlove, you will be slightly disappointed.
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Amazing account of one of music's unsung geniuses of this generation. Couldn't put this book down.

Must-read for anyone who is a fan of music. The stories within the story make for such a fascinating read. Really worthwhile.

If I were to recommend a music memoir to a person who loves music and to a person who isn't too crazy for music, this would be the one hands down.
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