In Mo' Meta Blues, what is chapter 20 saying about death, success, and failure?

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Mo' Meta Blues is the 2013 memoir by Questlove (written with Ben Greenman), the drummer and bandleader for the long-running Philadelphia hip-hop group the Roots. In chapter twenty, he discusses a transition period for the band, who often enjoyed more critical than commercial success. He opens the chapter by asking...

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Mo' Meta Blues is the 2013 memoir by Questlove (written with Ben Greenman), the drummer and bandleader for the long-running Philadelphia hip-hop group the Roots. In chapter twenty, he discusses a transition period for the band, who often enjoyed more critical than commercial success. He opens the chapter by asking the question "How do you plan a rebirth?" Questlove talks about some of the recent frustrations the band experienced, including parting with their label Interscope, the death of J Dilla, and Jay-Z's skepticism about their commercial potential, even though he was a fan of the band and had used them as his backing band.

What Questlove seems to be saying is that the music business is precarious and that a group truly has to believe in what they are doing and be willing to go through turbulent periods to survive. After these initial setbacks, the band moves forward with the album Game Theory, production work for Al Green, a collaboration with John Legend, and maybe most importantly, landing a gig as the house band on Jimmy Fallon's new show. Show producer Lorne Michaels expresses skepticism, but the band secures the gig, and it leads to the most high-profile period of their long career, one that exposes them to a wider and more varied audience. Again, the message seems to be that if you stick with it, you'll make it, and people will respect what you do.

As far as death, it's really only J Dilla's death that is mentioned in the chapter, although the next chapter opens with Michael Jackson's death.

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