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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Mommy...what's a Questlove?

MO' META BLUES is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the greats, the lates, the fakes, the headliners, and the almost-were's of music. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life, as well as pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and culture.

Questlove is

Overview

Mommy...what's a Questlove?

MO' META BLUES is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the greats, the lates, the fakes, the headliners, and the almost-were's of music. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life, as well as pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and culture.

Questlove is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and...tweeter? He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he will reveal his own formative experiences, from growing up in 1970s North Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his way though music, and ultimately co-founding and rising up with The Roots, THE LAST HIP HOP BAND ON EARTH. The book also has some (many) random (and 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 and stories about playing with his idols and fellow artists, like Stevie Wonder and KISS and D'Angelo and Jay-Z and Dave Chappelle. You ever seen Prince roller-skate??

But MO' META BLUES isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memoir. It's a book that questions what a book like MO' META BLUES really is. It's a one-of-a-kind publication by a one-of-a-kind mind.

It's a record that keeps going around and around.

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)
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.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455501359
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
06/18/2013
Pages:
282
Sales rank:
238,180
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(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 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 renowned producer, arranger, and songwriter. In 2009, The Roots became the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Questlove has over 2.2 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.

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Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
NickyCaffey More than 1 year ago
What a crazy, fun book. I loved the stories about brushes with celebrity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Questlove's book Mo Meta Blues is fascinating. It starts off with Questlove interviewing himself - which I found very interesting. It then goes into a variety of subjects about Black History including fascinating stories about The Roots formation and trouble with recording labels. I loved this book and high recommend it.
mshoni More than 1 year ago
From the start, Questlove (in an interview with himself) contends that he doesn't want this to be a straight forward memoir and wants to do something different in telling his story. This new format includes inserting letters from the co-writer to the editor (both named Ben) about the process & progress of the book which I found distracting. It also has footnotes throughout by Richard Nichols, the longtime co-manager of The Roots, as a counterpoint to Questlove's narrative, which I really enjoyed. As it turns out, though, to me it wound up reading like the standard memoir that he seemed to want to avoid, as it was still stories told in a linear timeline. I did like hearing about the inception of The Roots as a group and I listened to each album as my soundtrack while reading as he told the story of how they came about and the themes surrounding each one. As a fan, I've know about the difficulty the group has had with record labels, recognition from the public, and helping other musicians only to have their success eclipse theirs. Questlove's recounting of these topics was a learning experience that this lover of hip-hop appreciated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eeeeep!! I loveeee Questlove and the Roots crew on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!!<3 Mo' Metta Blues is awesome!! Goooo Questlove!!!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love The Roots and I love Questlove but I had no assumptions coming into this book since great musicians don't always make great authors. Turns out that Quest is a great author. He merges his own history with musical history in a way that allows us to learn about both without getting bored or overwhelmed by either. I especially enjoyed the various "playlists" and think it would be cool if there was an e-version that included playable links to the songs. (Or maybe for the audio version) If there was anything i didn't like, it was the footnotes. Some of them were rather long and rambly. They were intended to be his internal dialogue with himself, but some of them came across as if speaking directly to the reader and it becomes confusing at times. This book had some laugh out loud funny moments (the Flintstones car stands out) and overall Quest seems sweet, smart, and thoughtful (barring about 5 pages of acknowledgements that appear to have omitted Black Thought. Oops!) He does not get overly personal but the overall presentation is good enough to where you don't miss it. It still comes across as quite intimate and we do get to know him better. I checked this book out firstfrom the library but would purchase it to read again. I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to fans of the legendary Roots crew, Quest fans, memoir lovers, and music enthusiasts. There's something good here for all of us.
rock_scholar More than 1 year ago
As someone who grew up in the Philadelphia area at the same time as Questlove, I am quite biased toward loving everything Questlove/Roots. That said, Ahmir Thompson is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable voices of our generation and of the American experience. His perspectives are touching, surprising, raw, and sometimes gut wrenching. (Plus, the interjections throughout the book by the Roots' manager, Rich Nichols, are hysterical, enlightening, and have the feel of a big brother.) A must read for musicians, music fans, Philadelphians, and anyone with a pulse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique, hilarious &amp; insightful. Worth reading if for no other reason than to learn what it's like to go roller skating with Prince. Highly recommended.
Luke90210 More than 1 year ago
Questlove (ahmir Thompson) has written a very interesting book. His knowledge of music is impressive. The details of the formation and struggles of the band The Roots is very interesting. The book is easy to read and moves quickly through time. I would recommend giving it a try.
Countmonster More than 1 year ago
?Love's life is one dedicated to music, plain and simple. Any aspect of music is what he is all about. His and the Roots journey is long, has bumpy, and ultimately one that produced some of the greatest Hip-Hop I've ever heard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To many people, Questlove is just the drummer you occasionally see in the background or in skits on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but he&rsquo;s really a lot more than that.  A self made man with an extreme passion for music who has created countless amazing songs, done philanthropic work, and is essentially the smartest man alive.  Mo&rsquo; Meta Blues takes you inside the mind of Ahmir Thompson in a creative, artistic, and inspiring way that makes you think about some of life&rsquo;s greatest obstacles.  The way he pours over and describes different songs makes you want to listen to them all: While reading I kept a bookmark where I would write down countless tracks and albums to check out later, and my musical knowledge has grown as a result of this book.  It&rsquo;s a must read for any lovers of hip-hop or good music in general.
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Awesome!!!!! Thanks btw
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