Questlove is Writing A Book on the Last 50 Years of American Music

Questlove will focus on every decade from 1971 to the present.

On Wednesday, award-winning musician, author, and Sundance award-winning director Questlove announced Music is History, a novel connecting the last five decades of American music. The book will arrive in October 2021, along with an audiobook and an audio original companion featuring narration and storytelling by Quest himself.

“Here we’ll look at the last 50 years of America through the prism of music,” he wrote on Instagram, “and the last fifty years of music through the prism of history.”

The book is his sixth literary effort following Mixtape Potluck, a potluck cookbook, Creative Quest, a guide to creativity, Mo’ Meta Blues, Something to Food About, Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies and Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation.


“In Music is History,“the announcement reads, “Questlove harnesses his encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and his deep curiosity about history to examine America over the last fifty years. Choosing one essential track from each year, Questlove unpacks each song’s significance, revealing the pivotal role that American music plays around issues of race, gender, politics, and identity.”

The book will be published through Recorded Books, the world’s largest independent audiobook production company.

Music is History moves fluidly from the personal to the political,” the announcement continues, “examining events closely and critically, unpeel and uncover previously unseen dimensions and encouraging readers to do the same.

The book announcement adds to an already-impressive list of recent Questlove projects from the last year. His Sundance award-winning documentary Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) was recently acquired by Searchlight Pictures and Hulu. Additionally, Quest is in the process of directing a documentary on Sly and the Family Stone.

Pre-order your copy of Music Is History here at the Okayplayer Shop.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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Torry Threadcraft

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