Mo’ Meta Blues

The World According to Questlove

by Ahmir “Questlove Thompson
and Ben Greenman

Full disclosure: I always wanted to be a drummer and even took lessons in junior high. However, that semester they also started a new program called “Humanities” that included a slightly more rigorous academic curriculum and I was chosen to be a part of it. It conflicted with with my drum class and I had to drop it and never took another, but I still have my sticks:

I still love drums, though, and at a concert, while everyone is looking and listening to the lead singer or whoever, I’m staring at the drummer. That and my love for The Roots made reading this a no-brainer for me.

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.
I received a complimentary e-book of this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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