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Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove Hardcover – June 18, 2013
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"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."
"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."
"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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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. While making a swift exit from the show, Thompson was given a demo cassette of an artist who would leave his mark on neo-soul and R & B music for years to come. That artist was D'Angelo. The highlight of the bio was how Thompson came to know local Philly youngsters before they became the famous neo-soul artists we are now so familiar with. How he described meeting Alicia Keys had to be my favorite celebrity moment of the entire book.
Thompson has a wealth of knowledge about music that is astonishing but was in no way hubris in his presentation. The footnotes provided by The Roots comanager, Rich, gave even more depth to the narratives. The ending was a bit abstract which was my only complaint with the book.
This was a fantastic read. I devoured it in a couple of days. Like the Steve Jobs bio, this is definitely a book that I'll read more than once. I highly recommend it
"The exceptions don't prove the rule. They shame it. They banish it." ~ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, pg. 56