Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought, aka the frontman and co-founder of prolific Philly hip-hop group The Roots, has announced his forthcoming autobiography The Upcycled Self coming out November 14 via One World.
Trotter frames his storied upbringing through the lens of four relationships: community, friends, art, and family; each of which shaped his outlook on life, understanding of the world, and ability to persevere in the face of adversity. The book opens with the story of a young Trotter accidentally burning down his family’s home, before detailing how he rose from the flames, forging in fire his legacy as one of the most exhilaratingly skillful and profound rappers hip-hop culture has ever produced.
A synopsis of the book explains, “In The Upcycled Self, Trotter doesn’t only narrate a riveting and moving portrait of the artist as a young man, he gives readers a courageous model of what it means to live an examined life. And 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 years: How can we see the story of our own 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.”
Four time Grammy winner, two time BET Lyricist of the Year, and ranked as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest MCs of All Time in 2011, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter has been at the forefront of innovative hip-hop since The Roots started back in 1987. While The Roots may focus more on their annual Roots Picnic nowadays, Trotter has maintained a profoundly successful solo career as Black Thought. His 2022 album Cheat Codes was met with critical acclaim, with President Barack Obama listing the single “Belize” as one of his favorite tracks of 2022 on his yearly favorites playlist. Most recently, Trotter appeared with The Roots at the 2023 Roots Picnic and featured on the new Smoke DZA and Flying Lotus collab titled “Drug Trade” which came out July 21.