The song as history

Mo' Meta Blues

By using songs as a trigger mechanism of memory, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the 42-year-old co-founder of the Roots and musical director for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, has penned an animated memoir that enhances linear detail with stream-of-consciousness ruminations. In Mo' Meta Blues (Grand Central Publishing, $26), the drummer, producer and cultural curator chronicles his formative years in West Philly and on the road with his doo-wop and soul-singer father and model-dancer-vocalist mother. There are also short bursts of commentary from Roots co-manager Richard Nichols and co-writer Ben Greenman. The bumpy personal and professional journey includes Questlove's interactions with such players as Prince, members of Kiss, Dave Chappelle, D'Angelo and Al Green, as well as his spin on musical creationism vs. evolution, music criticism, what he considers the most influential moment in hip-hop. It's probably not what you think.