SPIN cover star/renaissance man Dave Grohl has got nothing on the Roots. Already on the Philly collective’s docket for 2013: Headlining the annual Roots Picnic festival and working on the follow-up to 2011’s undun, as well as a collaborative LP with Elvis Costello. Now add two memoirs, being written independently by bandleaders ?uestlove and Black Thought. Oh, and Black Thought has also started to work on a bluesy solo album.
On June 18, Grand Central Publishing’s Hachette imprint will release Mo’ Betta Blues: The World According to Questlove. A press release describes the book, which the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon drummer wrote with the help of New Yorker editor Ben Greenman, as “a punch-drunk memoir in which everyone’s favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, and the true originals of the music world.” Already sounds fit for a college syllabus.
Meanwhile, Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter) is drafting his own autobiography, with assistance from hip-hop writer Jeff Chang and filmmaker Maori Karmael Holmes, according to Nah Right. The 39-year-old MC is also caught up in his upcoming solo album, tentatively titled The Talented Mr. Trotter.
“I just started writing a couple of weeks ago for a blues album that I’m going to be singing on,” Trotter recently told Über Urban. He added that he’s planning to collaborate with TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, and R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn on the forthcoming full-length.
According to FACT, The Talented Mr. Trotter will be Black Thought’s solo debut, but it’s not the first time he’s tried to go it alone. A previous project, Masterpiece Theatre, was recorded back in 2001 but later scrapped because of label interference. Some of that material was reworked and wound up on the Roots’ 2002 standout, Phrenology.
And, as SPIN previously reported, everyone in the Roots has teamed up with Elvis Costello for a “brilliant” (?uestlove’s words) collaborative LP. As of late last month, the 14-track album still needed to be mixed, mastered, and named. Finally, the Roots’ next effort, the intriguingly titled & Then You Shoot Your Cousin is due either later this year or early next.