Friday, September 27, 2013

#BookReview: Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson

"But sometimes I only remember things through records.  They're a trigger for me, they're Pavlov's bell.  Without thinking about the music, I can't remember the experience.  But if I think long enough about a specific album, something else always bubbles up."

That quote right there sums up why I love Questlove and his love of music.  Friends and family make fun of me because no story I ever tell is complete without referring to a song or album that was out at the time. I can remember exactly what I was doing the first time I heard "The Double Dutch Bus" (getting my hair braided by my play mama at day camp), Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick's "The Show" (walking to day camp) or the whole LL Cool J "Bigger & Deffer" tape (riding the bus from a sewage treatment plant on a science camp field trip).  So I can definitely feel where Questlove is coming from.  Music has been such an integral part of his life from the beginning.

Raised in a musical family, Thompson began playing drums in his father's group at a young age.  He didn't just play the drums, he studied his craft, attending a performing arts high school in Philadelphia along with bassist Christian McBride, members of Boyz II Men and fellow Roots member, Black Thought (Tariq Trotter).  A bit of a nerd (okay, more than a bit), Thompson's nerdiness has been balanced out by the rough around the edges personality of Trotter almost from the conception of their group.

It's difficult to review this book because there's so much I want to say, but I'll just say that music lovers must read it.  There are a lot of a-ha and oh yeah moments throughout.  Some of my favorites are:

  1. Thompson is a KISS fanatic
  2. He writes reviews for his own records and lays them out like a Rolling Stone page.
  3. Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson (not THAT Joe Jackson) is one of those songs I thought no one else knew, yet it made his extended play list for 1982.  The same goes for Sheila E's Yellow in 1985 and Carole King's Chicken Soup with Rice in 1975.
  4. He has a theory that hip hop evolves in five year cycles, and he's probably right.
  5. When an artist dies, there's a special stipulation that allows their songs to be played for a 48-hour period at the standard rate for news purposes, which allowed The Roots to play Michael Jackson songs on air the day after his death.

Published: June 2013
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

Theme: I Love Music by The O'Jays (from Soul Train because ?uestlove)

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