Before gaining fame as the lead rapper of The Roots under the name Black Thought, Tariq Trotter was a student of art. He pursued his passion for the subject by taking classes at Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia.
As a child, Trotter’s first experience at a school for the arts left a lasting impression. He described the environment as “otherworldly” and felt that it was like a secret haven.
In his recently published autobiography titled “The Upcycled Self: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are,” Trotter expresses that art played a crucial role in his life. He states, “Art has been my ultimate savior, my means of salvation, without a doubt.”
When asked if he learned anything unexpected about himself during the writing process, Trotter responded, “I believe it was mainly the extent of my resilience.”
The program known as the Mural Arts Program.
The individual who once created graffiti now has their own painted wall, which they mentioned was completed approximately two years ago and “feels great.”
Looking back now, I see this image and think, “Wow, I’ve actually lost some weight since that mural was painted.” Is it possible to make some adjustments? Can we go up and slim it down a bit?
Trotter attributes his artistic passion to his mother’s support. However, she ultimately became consumed by the dangerous lifestyle of the streets and tragically fell victim to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Reflecting on this experience, Trotter shared that losing his mother in such a devastating way was his worst fear.
At that point, he had the realization that “You cannot alter others. You cannot rescue everyone.”
Art once again came to his rescue when he formed an unlikely partnership with musician Ahmir Thompson, also known as Questlove. Despite their differences, they formed a strong bond and saw each other as brothers. He acknowledged that opposites do indeed attract.
In his newly released memoir, he shares that The Roots became a collective through an unspoken, mutual understanding. Their breakthrough opportunity came when they were asked to perform at a music festival in Germany, with a lucrative payment offer. According to him, the amount was around $4,000, which was a significant sum at the time.
What was going through his mind at that time? “We had achieved it. Our demonstration and the album that would eventually become our debut (1993’s “Organix”) were all connected to that initial performance.”
Trotter, a constant wanderer, has always been driven by a deep yearning. He muses, “I can’t help but wonder if this insatiable desire is still rooted in the desperate longing of a six-year-old who wanted to rebuild the perfect world he had destroyed.”
When asked if he ever feels concerned about hunger, he replied, “No, it doesn’t bother me. It’s the only thing I’m familiar with.”
Tariq Trotter declares that it has always been reliable for him. He stated, “I have not disappointed myself so far. Am I consistently performing at my best? No, but even at my worst, I am still valuable to others!”