Questlove’s excellent Mo’ Meta Blues is a refreshingly irreverent take on the traditional music memoir. Instead of following the standard chronological template typical of musical autobiographies (childhood introduction to music slowly building to present day), the book moves deftly across time, employing footnotes, emails between his co-writer and editor, and other narrators along the way.
The result is a warm, deeply funny, and informative work that manages to feel like something new, even though Quest has been sharing his thoughts about his love of all things music, including his place in it, for many years. And speaking of meta, take for example this fifteen year old (!!!) Source Magazine article, where a pre-Things Fall Apart Questlove details the entire musical history of A Tribe Called Quest.
Originally published in ’98, he writes with the energy of a lifelong fan, the expertise of an insider and peer, and the unique personality and writing style that has been the hallmark of his liner notes, message board posts, and twitter feed since the plastic fist of his afro pick emerged from the underground into pop culture’s mainstream. Tribe’s relationship to The Roots as, at once, musical forebears and peers/contemporaries creates a unique perspective from which the Soulquarian drummer approaches their unmatched discography.
The effortless mix of personal anecdotes with a clear understanding of how the times affected Tribe’s music, and vice versa, results in writing worth revisiting a decade and a half later.
Click to enlarge each of the scans.
Cred: Babylon Falling