When I was growing up, I an effortless reader, a bookworm who loved to read for hours on end, losing myself in stories. Now, as an adult, I am saddened that it has become hard for me to find the time and attention span to devote to what was my beloved past time. I recently finished reading Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, the memoir of Ahmir Thompson aka “Questlove,” the Drummer for the Hip Hop Band The Roots, and was thrilled at how Mo’Meta Blues recaptured my love of reading from childhood, truly immersing me in what I had loved and continue to love about reading–exploring a new world, in this instance the world of Hip Hop.
Mo’Meta Blues did introduce me to people whose lives are so different from my own in a format that felt so unique–less of a memoir and more of a hip hop song that sampled footnotes from Roots Manager Richard Nichols and emails exchanged between co-writer Ben Greenman and editor Ben Greenberg. But Questlove also let me return to a place I have not visited in a while, Philly where I am from.
In addition to revisiting the city where I grew up, I also felt a musical nostalgia that brought me back to the first time I heard so many hip hop and R&B artists that make up the sound track of my adolescence. It was so funny reading about Questlove’s experiences attending CAPA (Philadelphia high school for Creative and Performing Arts) where he met Tariq Trotter “Black Thought” whom he created the Roots with as part of a rivalry against their classmates who “were always singing a capella in the bathroom,” classmates who later became R&B group Boyz II Men. It was so cool to read about the Roots performing with the Fugees, and think back to when I heard “Killing Me Softly” all over the radio and school hallways.
Listen to The Roots & other Hip Hop artists
1. The Roots https://myspace.com/theroots This is the Root’s official MySpace page and includes a YouTube video archive as well as their music.
2. J Dilla https://myspace.com/jdilla I am embarrassed to admit that before reading Mo’Meta Blues, I never knew much about J Dilla and his legacy in what Questlove called the “new Renaissance of Hip Hop.” After reading Mo’Meta Blues, it’s been a fascinating journey for me to explore J Dilla’s website, and learn about his life and powerful influences on so many artists from Questlove himself to Erykah Badu, Common, Kanye West… the list goes on and on. A moving story of coincidence that also unpacks J Dilla’s legacy was recently featured on the Snap Judgement Podcast: http://snapjudgment.org/j-dilla%E2%80%99s-lost-scrolls
3. OkayPlayer http://www.okayplayer.com/ Okayplayer.com, created by Questlove in 1999, defines itself as “the original progressive urban music site” and “premier digital destination for music connoisseurs worldwide.”
Read Mo’Meta Blues and Listen to the Interview that inspired me to read it
1. Thompson, Ahmir “Questlove” and Ben Greenman. Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. June 2013. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I9S6AE/ref=atv_feed_catalog?tag=imdb-amazonvideo-20
2. “Questlove on Police Racial Profiling, Stop & Frisk, the Message He Took from Trayvon Martin Verdict.” Democracy Now. August 14, 2013. This insightful interview cemented my crush on Questlove and finally prompted me to read Mo’Meta Blues. http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/14/questlove_on_police_racial_profiling_stop