The Upcycled Self is a unique look into the life of Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) from The Roots. Read my review of this intriguing memoir.
The Upcycled Self: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter gave me so much insight into the events that made The Roots musician who he is. Read the synopsis below and find out why I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
What’s the book about?
From one of our generation’s most powerful artists and incisive storytellers comes a brilliantly crafted work about the art—and war—of becoming who we are.
: to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item
: to create an object of greater value from (a discarded object of lesser value)
Today Tariq Trotter—better known as Black Thought—is the platinum-selling, Grammy-winning co-founder of The Roots, and one of the most exhilaratingly skillful and profound rappers the culture has ever produced. But his story begins with a as a child, Trotter burned down his family’s home. The years that followed are the story of a life snatched from the flames, forged in fire.
In The Upcycled Self, Trotter doesn’t just narrate a riveting and moving portrait of the artist as a young man, but gives readers a courageous model of what it means to live an examined life. In vivid vignettes, he tells the dramatic stories of the four powerful relationships that shaped him—community, friends, art, and family—each a complex weave of love, discovery, trauma, and loss.
But beyond offering the compellingly poetic account of one artist’s creative and emotional origins, Trotter explores the vital questions we all have to confront about our formative How can we see the story of our young lives clearly? How do we use that story to understand who we’ve become? How do we forgive the people who loved and hurt us? How do we rediscover and honor our first dreams? And finally, what do we take forward, what do we pass on, what do we leave behind? This is the beautifully bluesy story of a boy genius’s coming of age that illuminates the redemptive power of the upcycle. [GoodReads.com]
The Upcycled Self was a great introduction to the life of Black Thought, aka Tariq Trotter, of the band The Roots. Fans of the band already know that Trotter has a sharp wit, and his memoir is no exception. He is a fantastic storyteller and delivers an engaging look into his background.
The short length of The Upcycled Self is the main reason why I only gave it 4 stars. The tender way Trotter recalls his background is touching and informative of who he is, but it just scratches the surface. Instead of simply finding out how these experiences influenced him in retrospect, I yearned for a bit more insight into how they emotionally affected him at the time. Even so, I thought it was a fantastic read and would suggest it to every one of his fans.
Watch an interview with Trotter on CBS Mornings below: