Named A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Buzzfeed, Nylon, The A. V. Club, CBC Books, and The Rumpus. And a Winter's Most Anticipated Book by Vanity Fair and The Week
Starred Reviews: Kirkus and Booklist
"Warm, immediate and intensely personal."—New York Times
How does one pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest? The seminal rap group brought jazz into the genre, resurrecting timeless rhythms to create masterpieces such as The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Seventeen years after their last album, they resurrected themselves with an intense, socially conscious record, We Got It from Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service, which arrived when fans needed it most, in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib digs into the group’s history and draws from his own experience to reflect on how its distinctive sound resonated among fans like himself. The result is as ambitious and genre-bending as the rap group itself.
Abdurraqib traces the Tribe's creative career, from their early days as part of the Afrocentric rap collective known as the Native Tongues, through their first three classic albums, to their eventual breakup and long hiatus. Their work is placed in the context of the broader rap landscape of the 1990s, one upended by sampling laws that forced a reinvention in production methods, the East Coast–West Coast rivalry that threatened to destroy the genre, and some record labels’ shift from focusing on groups to individual MCs. Throughout the narrative Abdurraqib connects the music and cultural history to their street-level impact. Whether he’s remembering The Source magazine cover announcing the Tribe’s 1998 breakup or writing personal letters to the group after bandmate Phife Dawg’s death, Abdurraqib seeks the deeper truths of A Tribe Called Quest; truths that—like the low end, the bass—are not simply heard in the head, but felt in the chest.
A visiting writer in the MFA program at Butler University, Hanif Abdurraqib is an acclaimed poet and cultural critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times, MTV News, and other outlets. A nominee for the Pushcart Prize, he is the author of the highly praised poetry collection The Crown Ain't Worth Much and the essay collection They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, which was included in the Chicago Tribune's 25 Must-Read Books list for fall 2017 and received recognition from reviewers coast-to-coast, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly. He is currently at work on They Don't Dance No Mo', a history of black performance in the United States.
Table of Contents
1. The Paths of Rhythm
2. Once Upon a Time in Queens
3. Push It Along
4. The Low End
5. Award Tour
6. 1nce Again
7. The Source Cover
10. Family Business
11. Common Ground
12. Thank You 4 Your Service
What People are Saying About This
"If readers first encounter Hanif Abdurraqib's¬†Go Ahead in the Rain¬†as a chronicle of fandom and the development of an aesthetic sensibility, when they come to his bereavement letters‚Äîaddressing each member of A Tribe Called Quest on the breakup of the group‚Äîthey will realize something far more compelling is going on.¬†This book is about the struggle of the writer to fully connect with something bigger than himself‚Äîultimately, the world at large, as it will present itself for the rest of his life."
"Go Ahead in the Rain reminds anyone fortunate enough to receive its pages that being black in America is to be part of a lineage, that no one person‚Äôs story exists in a vacuum, and that, like Hanif with Phife and Ali and Q and Jarobi, connective tissue exists all around us, invisible to the indifferent and brightly illuminated to the curious. "
"This book is a gorgeous offering that will bury itself in the overjoyed heart of every kid who came of age in the '90s."