.

Book Review: Questlove's 'Mo' Meta Blues'

The Roots drummer's memoir is a smart, funny, insightful tour of his jam-packed mind

June 18, 2013 10:40 AM ET
'Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove' by Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson
'Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove' by Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson
Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove
Grand Central Publishing
Four stars

Anyone who has followed the Roots' 20-year career has already soaked up so much of Questlove's writing – in novella-length liner notes, message-board posts and endless tweets – that the drummer-bandleader's new memoir hardly feels like his first book. Thumbing through these pages is more like picking up an ongoing conversation with the smartest, chattiest music nerd you know.

Questlove's Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

Mo' Meta Blues (co-authored with New Yorker editor Ben Greenman) follows a loose chronological arc, tracing Questlove's path from shy Philly kid to the kind of guy who gets invited to roller-skate with Prince. He's as much cultural critic as memoirist – he can't resist interrogating, debating and riffing on every milestone he achieves. When Jay-Z asks the Roots to back him at an MTV Unplugged show in 2001, Questlove's first instinct is to worry about alienating underground purists: "He was the antichrist to a certain kind of hip-hop fan." There are other voices in the mix, too, including some priceless interjections from the Roots' sardonic manager, Rich Nichols. But the joy of this book is getting to live inside Questlove's jam-packed, restless brain for a while.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com