Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

4.7 19
by Ahmir QUESTLOVE Thompson, Ben Greenman
     
 

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"You have to bear in mind that [Questlove] is one of the smartest motherf*****s on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless." —Robert Christgau

MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove

Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story

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Overview

"You have to bear in mind that [Questlove] is one of the smartest motherf*****s on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless." —Robert Christgau

MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove

Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences—from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?

But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First-time author “Questlove” Thompson is cofounder and drummer of the Roots, the popular hip-hop/neo-soul group that also serves as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In this enjoyable memoir, Thompson tells of his work as a DJ and producer with some of the biggest names in the music business, such as Jay-Z and Common, and Dave Chappelle (Thompson was the Chappelle’s Show’s music director). His always fascinating and sometimes hilarious recollections touch on everything from drumming at age five in his father’s professional doo-wop and soul band to roller-skating as an adult with Eddie Murphy at a bizarre party hosted by Prince. Thompson’s eclectic “meta” mix of writing styles—punctuated by interviews with Rich Nichols, the group’s longtime comanager—appropriately captures the almost two-decade-long history of the Roots.(June 25)
From the Publisher
"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

Library Journal
★ 
Thompson, better known as Questlove, is the drummer and cofounder of the Roots, familiar to millions through their music and, more recently, as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Questlove, who has over 2.6 million Twitter followers, busts out of the 140 character limitations with an autobiography that is insightful, provocative, and impossible to put down. It’s fascinating to hear Questlove’s story as well as his take on the music that has driven him and inspired countless listeners for the last 40 years. This is much more than the standard Behind the Music–style biography, and Questlove does his best to break down the barrier between writer and reader. Along the way he addresses the all-important question, “How do you take what you hear and translate it into something that can be heard?”

Verdict Anyone interested in the mechanics of creation and collaboration will find much to savor here. Questlove’s first book is not to be missed. You won’t be able to put it down until you finish—and you’ll want more when you do.—Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A thoughtful, incisive analysis of hip-hop--and pop music in general--from one of its foremost contemporary architects. It's no surprise that this isn't your standard musical memoir. As drummer and aural conceptualist for the Roots, producer for other artists, Jimmy Fallon bandleader and provocative cultural critic, Thompson, aka Questlove, has pushed the boundaries of convention wherever his creative energies have taken him. Here, he enlists New Yorker editor and novelist Greenman (The Slippage, 2013, etc.), not as a ghostwriter but as a collaborator and occasional interrogator, interweaving the subject/author's voice with that of Rich Nichols, the Roots' career strategist and co-manager from the start, in a book that mixes chronological memoir with critical issues not easily resolved--e.g., "What's black culture? What's hip-hop? What are the responsibilities of a society and the people in it?" It conjures the life of Questlove from boyhood prodigy to die-hard fan to seminal creative force, through midlife crisis and subsequent renewal, and it captures the revolutionary boyhood excitement of hearing "Rapper's Delight" shift the axis of the musical world and the giddy weirdness of being invited by Prince to a private, after-hours roller-skating party. The author also discusses being a huge KISS fan, a worshipper of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, "a serious music-press nerd, the kind of kid who collected back issues of Rolling Stone and memorized all the record ratings" and how he and the Roots have faced the charges of being "not black enough." The result is 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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410466495
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
03/12/2014
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
437
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Fred Armisen
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
Dr. Cornel West
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
Amy Poehler
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

Meet the Author

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is the drummer and co-founder of the Grammy award-winning hip hop band The Roots. He's also a world-renowned producer, arranger, songwriter and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon bandleader.
Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker and author of several acclaimed novels, including Superbad, Please Step Back, and The Slippage. As a journalist and critic, he has written widely on music and pop culture.

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