Things We Learned From Questlove’s “Mo’ Meta Blues” Memoir

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By Matthew Schonfeld

Every Roots fan knows that Questlove likes telling stories. For each of the Roots’ 13 studio albums, Quest treated the liner notes as documentation of the collaborative efforts that melded each track. There were comical anecdotes, studio sessions, sample histories, and more—each element allowing the listener to understand where this unique, full-bodied sound was stemming from. He allowed listeners, to an extent, to learn how the Roots operated in a studio setting, and in doing so, gave more insight into the way each record was uniquely crafted.

Mo’ Meta Blues explores Questlove’s life humbly, through his own words and a handful of friends who have lived alongside him. He shapes his experiences in captivating and dynamic ways. For anybody that has dug through the Roots’ catalogue, this book comes alive—as it walks with the music and offers an eye into Questlove’s head as he was making each record. It’s no more self-indulgent (as many memoirs are) as it is self-deprecating, and it’s that healthy balance that makes it such an effortless read. Quest’s voice is strong, self-aware, and witty.

At 42, he’s accomplished far-reaching feats and seen lofty childhood dreams come to fruition. Questlove rarely has a chance to sit down and tell his story—to examine his life and the road that has taken him from West Philly to where he is today. But Mo’ Meta Blues is that long awaited discussion. It’s an in depth look at the cultural and musical complexities of the infamous, afro-strutting man, stepping out from behind the drum set.

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