Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: Mo’ Meta Blues

Questlove’s memoir is a fresh, funny, fulfilling music journey of one of hip-hop’s rare drummers. Questlove grew up in Philly and in a musical family. In addition to playing the drums at a young age, he also collected records. His memoir includes sections where he shared his thoughts and memories of records that inspired him. What I find even more fascinating is that Questlove writes reviews of his own work. He shared:

I was and am so devoted to the review process that I write the reviews for his own records. Almost no one knows this, but when I am making a Roots record, I write the review I think the album will receive and lay out the page just like it’s a Rolling Stone page from when I was ten or eleven. I draw the cover image in miniature and chicken-scratch in a fake byline. It’s the only way I really know how to imagine what I think the record is. And as it turns out, most of the time the record ends up pretty close to what I say it is in the review.

I appreciate the honesty in Questlove’s writing, especially the process in which he and the Roots make album as a whole experience and not just riding off the hits. The Roots has been in the game for so long because they were doing their own things instead getting caught up into the trend. Questlove recognized the failure of The Tipping Point because they tried to pleased Jimmy Iovine. In contrast, Game Theory was a true Roots record because JAY-Z give them the creative freedom to do their things. Reading the story of hip-hop through Questlove and the position of the Roots as an outcast is intriguing and eye-opening. Together with Ben Greenman, The New Yorker editor, Questlove wrote a engaging and enlightening book for music lovers.