I think Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson owes me an apology.
He made me look like a pretentious douchebag, because, even as I was away at a cottage by a beach with a group of my closest friends, I could not find a way to avoid having my nose buried into the spine of his new book.
Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, written by Thompson himself as well as Ben Greenman, is a collection of thoughts by one of the most prolific drummers who is a part of hip hop’s most beloved band. If that’s not enough, he’s also a huge music nerd with a deep knowledge in its history all the while being an infectiously humble guy.
Whenever someone asks me whether the book is ?uestlove’s autobiography, I always find it difficult to answer because it is so much more than just that. There are many different aspects added to the book that make it a much more dynamic reading experience than just any other autobiography. Letters from Ben Greenman to the editor, Ben Greenberg, are included periodically in between chapters which include commentary on the book itself. As you read along, you almost feel as if the book itself is self-aware (wait, what?). This, in combination with Rich Nichol’s sporadic footnotes scattered across Questo’s colorful commentaries, provide some validity and perspective to the points and stories that Thompson eloquently lays out in the book.
Another example of an added component that makes the book a dynamic reading experience is the “Quest Loves Records” sections. As Thompson cruises through the ups and downs of his life, he makes sure to break down the records that would define his years at that particular time. He provides interesting insight into why the particular record he chose would represent the year for him and always tie it back into the story of his ever so eventful life.
The actual content itself gives the reader a “kid in a candy store” type feeling to all those who truly love music in general and is especially appealing if you love hip hop. Thompson’s style of writing is very personable and is riddled with personality. It almost feels as if Questo himself is in front of you speaking to you directly as if you have been friends for years and years. Besides the style itself, he offers a perspective of music from someone who was immersed in it from such a young age by retelling personal anecdotes while tying them into how music as a whole grew and how it affected or was affected by the world around him.
In all honesty, Mo’ Meta Blues is the first book I have read in years and after flipping past the last page, it has definitely rekindled my love for reading, because of the engaging experience I had with Questlove and his book. Thompson will have you smiling with stories (like how he first met the ever-so-talented Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter), feeling sympathetic with stories of his troubles with his father and widening your eyes with insight into the trials and tribulations of the legendary Roots crew.