Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson

Rock & Roll Books

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ben Greenman
Grand Central Publishing, 288 pp., $26

"This book should be different," proclaims Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson at the start of his endlessly entertaining memoir. The Roots drummer remains the ultimate music nerd, a grownup version of the kid who wallpapered his room with illustrations from Rolling Stone record reviews. His every memory comes inextricably linked to a song, a fact that makes him a world-class DJ and his memoir a virtual crate-digging excursion. These touchstones weave throughout a journey from West Philly to Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, but most literally in segments called "Quest Loves Records," one of many quirky devices that offer a peek beneath the iconic afro. Emails between the book's editor and its co-author Ben Greenman discuss the direction of the project ("We don't want the book to go off the rails. Are there rails?"), while longtime band manager Rich Nichols chimes in with sage perspective and occasional shit-talking via footnotes. The backstory to every Roots album is here (not to mention D'Angelo's Voodoo, which Thompson reveres), but more interesting is his perspective on their shifting place in the larger hip-hop landscape. Even then, this visual alone makes Mo' Meta Blues essential: Prince gliding around a near-empty skating rink wearing "the strangest, most singular pair of roller skates I had ever seen."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Thomas Fawcett
The Gospel According to Lee Fields
The Gospel According to Lee Fields
Soul man tells it all ahead of Saturday’s ice cream social

June 22, 2018

Texas Platters
Brownout
Fear of a Brown Planet (Record Review)

June 22, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Roots, gift guide 2013, D'Angelo, Prince, Jimmy Fallon

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle