Go Ahead in the Rain
A New York Times Best SellerHow 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.

Go Ahead in the Rain Details

TitleGo Ahead in the Rain
Author
ReleaseFeb 1st, 2019
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
ISBN-139781477316481
Rating
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing, Essays, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

Go Ahead in the Rain Review

  • Jessica Hopper
    January 1, 1970
    This book does so many things, and expands the frame of critical biography so crucially. Diving deep in to Tribe's history is only a part of what Hanif Abdurraqib does here -- where the book sings is all the context he adds to the story, about what it meant to love them, the spaces where their work illuminates and anchors his understanding of love, success, innovation, the inevitable, black enterprise. This work, much like his other books of critical essay and poetry invites the reader in. It's This book does so many things, and expands the frame of critical biography so crucially. Diving deep in to Tribe's history is only a part of what Hanif Abdurraqib does here -- where the book sings is all the context he adds to the story, about what it meant to love them, the spaces where their work illuminates and anchors his understanding of love, success, innovation, the inevitable, black enterprise. This work, much like his other books of critical essay and poetry invites the reader in. It's a rich, nuanced book that gloriously and irreverently disregards the form of how artist biography is supposed to arc and regards, and instead it lives and breathes as something more organic and familiar that is recognizable to anyone whose life has been shaped by fandom.
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  • Jak Krumholtz
    January 1, 1970
    When this book arrived Monday I sent a pic of my daughter holding it to my sister that introduced me to Hanif’s writing. I said sometimes fans can’t wait until drop dates. Tuesday I was home sick and played Tribe’s whole discography for comfort. It’s Wednesday now and I just finished it. Shift your plans Friday and go get this.Abdurraqib released my favorite book of 2018. He may have just done it in 2019.
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  • Jacob Hoefer
    January 1, 1970
    3 books by Hanif and all 3 have made me cry
  • Cassandra Mansuetti
    January 1, 1970
    wowowow this was good. like really, really damn good. i'll hold off on putting my thoughts into words for now though ~ review per the Daily sometime soon this week
  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    This book was everything I wanted from a music history and has really got me thinking about writing about music. I've been feeling dreamy all week thinking about this book, made a playlist for it on Google Play (Abdurraqib said he made a playlist on Spotify of songs sampled by Tribe, so you should definitely check that out), and wish now that Abdurraqib could write all history for me. This was great, too, because I think I may be a hair older than the author, but we're essentially the same age, This book was everything I wanted from a music history and has really got me thinking about writing about music. I've been feeling dreamy all week thinking about this book, made a playlist for it on Google Play (Abdurraqib said he made a playlist on Spotify of songs sampled by Tribe, so you should definitely check that out), and wish now that Abdurraqib could write all history for me. This was great, too, because I think I may be a hair older than the author, but we're essentially the same age, so it was cool to get his take on things as someone who came of age in the same era. Anywho, if you love music, love reading about music, love Tribe, are only a little familiar with Tribe, have no idea who Tribe is, love history and social commentary, love memoir, love beautiful writing...this book is for you.
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  • Richard Noggle
    January 1, 1970
    Hanif's new book is a solid fusion of cultural criticism (as he works his way through Tribe's discography, influence, and dissolution) and personal reflection (as he charts his own relationship to Tribe's music and what it's meant to him over the years, complete with moving letters where he addresses Q-Tip and Phife directly). It's perhaps a little stronger in the latter than the former, and Hanif's digressive tendencies occasionally lose me, but I can't wait for his fourth book.
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  • Royal
    January 1, 1970
    The tiny yet mighty "to" gives the book a great deal of its magic. The "to" is the difference between reading a wonderfully written biography of A Tribe Called Quest and reading this book. This book is an intimate conversation overheard, a love letter found, a confession, a confrontation, a monument, and an ode in addition to being a wonderfully written biography of A Tribe Called Quest. Hanif talks to ATCQ across time and through impassable thresholds in a manner as earnest as it is trenchant.H The tiny yet mighty "to" gives the book a great deal of its magic. The "to" is the difference between reading a wonderfully written biography of A Tribe Called Quest and reading this book. This book is an intimate conversation overheard, a love letter found, a confession, a confrontation, a monument, and an ode in addition to being a wonderfully written biography of A Tribe Called Quest. Hanif talks to ATCQ across time and through impassable thresholds in a manner as earnest as it is trenchant.Hanif's deft layering of contexts situates the reader in the room where the crew reunites to reminisce, recapping and revealing new glimpses into what happened all those years ago. After learning about earlier approaches to sampling from this book, I can situate Hanif's world-building in that lineage. Hanif gives us a trajectory and analysis of A Tribe Called Quest and its impact while contextualizing the music trends, social climate, political events, and his own experience. The book has a noticeable rhythm to it, which felt both right and necessary.
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  • Joe
    January 1, 1970
    I finished the A Tribe Called Quest book on the bus going to work this morning. I cried a little bit.I walked past a bar on the way home from work today. A Tribe Called Quest was playing.I cried a little bit.ADDED:For every generation, there are usually only a handful of bands that can truly be described as the proverbial "the only band that matters." And, in the 90s, one of that handful was A Tribe Called Quest. And in his fantastic book GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN, poet Hanif Abdurraqib captures thos I finished the A Tribe Called Quest book on the bus going to work this morning. I cried a little bit.I walked past a bar on the way home from work today. A Tribe Called Quest was playing.I cried a little bit.ADDED:For every generation, there are usually only a handful of bands that can truly be described as the proverbial "the only band that matters." And, in the 90s, one of that handful was A Tribe Called Quest. And in his fantastic book GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN, poet Hanif Abdurraqib captures those never-to-be repeated heady days "..when I was a teenager/before I had status and before I had a pager." I loved this book and I cried with this book. RIP Phife Dawg.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    not trying to be all "hanif is the premier music critic of our time" or anything but "hanif is the premier music critic of our time"
  • Jen Hirt
    January 1, 1970
    Can a reader get something out of this book even if they don't know much about A Tribe Called Quest? Sure thing -- I'm that reader and I could not put this book down. I had read Abdurraqib's previous nonfiction book (They Can't Kill Us Till They Kill Us) and was struck by his range of style, sharp insights, humor, and just great writing. Same thing applies here, and I learned all about A Tribe Called Quest. Can't complain! This books stands out in the genre of music criticism and cultural critic Can a reader get something out of this book even if they don't know much about A Tribe Called Quest? Sure thing -- I'm that reader and I could not put this book down. I had read Abdurraqib's previous nonfiction book (They Can't Kill Us Till They Kill Us) and was struck by his range of style, sharp insights, humor, and just great writing. Same thing applies here, and I learned all about A Tribe Called Quest. Can't complain! This books stands out in the genre of music criticism and cultural criticism. As an Ohio writer myself, I appreciated his nods to being a young adult in that state and caring deeply about music. At the end, he weaves in the narrative of the the 2016 election, the loss of Leonard Cohen, and the role of the artist resisting in the early months of 2017. Like a lot of readers are saying, it had me in tears at the end.
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  • Phil Overeem
    January 1, 1970
    I checked it out of the local library. It is so good I am buying a copy to keep close. Among the many things Abdurraqib pierces the bullseye on, the eerie and perfect arrival of the final ATCQ album is explored with eerie and perfect grace.
  • Beanslover Jacob
    January 1, 1970
    A very good book.
  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    Knowing A Tribe Called Quest’s music beforehand is not a prerequisite to reading this book. Hanif Abdurraqib is the most beautiful writer, and it’s impossible to not be moved and engaged by this “love letter to a group, a sound, an an era.”
  • Jared Levine
    January 1, 1970
    The hype is real! Hanif is bright light in an otherwise placid sky. By now, he has mastered his own brand of writing about culture that, while being spot on, brings you into the emotional center of his being. This is his triumphant preservation of one of the greatest groups hip hop has ever seen. Hanif spins their story while telling the mythic history of hip hop, anchoring it with rock solid cultural references, and his own coming of age. Whether you grew up listening to Tribe as they dropped t The hype is real! Hanif is bright light in an otherwise placid sky. By now, he has mastered his own brand of writing about culture that, while being spot on, brings you into the emotional center of his being. This is his triumphant preservation of one of the greatest groups hip hop has ever seen. Hanif spins their story while telling the mythic history of hip hop, anchoring it with rock solid cultural references, and his own coming of age. Whether you grew up listening to Tribe as they dropped their early classics like Low End Theory, or are a recent fan after they rose from the ashes as a phoenix with their Thank 4 Your Service record—this book is for you. —Jared, City Lights Bookstore
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  • Will
    January 1, 1970
    “Anger is a type of geography. The ways out of it expand the more you love a person. The more forgiveness you might be willing to afford each other opens up new and unexpected roads. And so, for some, staying angry at someone you love is a reasonable option. To stay angry at someone you know will forgive your anger is a type of love, or at least it is a type of familiarity that can feel like love.”
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  • Kusaimamekirai
    January 1, 1970
    Back in the days when I was a teenager. Before I had status and before I had a pager Some books you don’t know you need until it’s in your hand and you get lost in it. Lost in how it speaks to you of your youth, collaboration and community, friendship and sometimes its dissolution, and sometimes just singing something simply for the pure joy it brings you. All these things are what A Tribe Called Quest meant to me as a high school student and it is also what it meant Hanif Abdurraqib. In his Back in the days when I was a teenager. Before I had status and before I had a pager Some books you don’t know you need until it’s in your hand and you get lost in it. Lost in how it speaks to you of your youth, collaboration and community, friendship and sometimes its dissolution, and sometimes just singing something simply for the pure joy it brings you. All these things are what A Tribe Called Quest meant to me as a high school student and it is also what it meant Hanif Abdurraqib. In his love letter to the band, “Go Ahead in the Rain”, Abdurraqib goes back 25 years ago when the band was formed. He does a wonderful job of chronicling what the hiphop landscape of the early 90’s and Tribe’s unique place in it. If this were all he did it would still be a fascinating look at a fascinating time. What makes this book extraordinary however is just how personal it is. Abdurraqib intersperses these historical segments with information about the group and most importantly, his letters to them. He writes to each member individually in a manner that belies the fact that he has never met them. And yet, he feels he has known them all his life. His joy in their groundbreaking first three albums (I love how he talks about the sensation he felt when a Tribe cassette came to an end with a satisfying click. A feeling I had almost forgotten but experienced myself so often on my beat-up Tribe cassettes where the title track on one, skipped halfway through. I wouldn’t hear the complete song until many, many years later), his anger at the group’s frontman Q-Tip when the band broke up and he laid the blame at his doorstep, the solo albums (with the exception of Q-Tip’s, now almost universally forgotten) that marked milestones in his life, and a touching letter to the mother of original member Phife Dawg, who died way too young in 2015. His writing here is raw, passionate and full of love and appreciation for a group that defined his youth. Perhaps one needs to be a fan of Tribe in the early 90’s to fully appreciate what Abdurraqib is trying to express here. As someone who was, and experienced waves of memory rushing back at me with each page, I too wanted to express my appreciation for what this group meant to me. While you don’t have to be a lifelong fan to appreciate the beauty of Abdurraqib’s writing (it is magnificent), if you are, this book will take you back to, if not a simpler time, a time where endless possibilities laid in front of you and the music was sublime.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    “We are nothing if not for our histories” It’s like reading someone’s personal journal. As the writing is so open full of love, hope and fear. While dissecting what the subject means to them. His prose like poetry.The book is exactly what the title promises. Notes and letters. How each facet has theory or defining moment. Even if just a casual fan of the group or itms songs and albums. This book spells out illustriously how important they are to the writer, hip-hop, culture and the community in “We are nothing if not for our histories” It’s like reading someone’s personal journal. As the writing is so open full of love, hope and fear. While dissecting what the subject means to them. His prose like poetry.The book is exactly what the title promises. Notes and letters. How each facet has theory or defining moment. Even if just a casual fan of the group or itms songs and albums. This book spells out illustriously how important they are to the writer, hip-hop, culture and the community in large. It cements their legend and strength m. Offers a dissection of sorts that delves into the philosophical impression also the way the writer makes anything personal and also philosophical and how he connects the dots through it al. As he relays his stories and memories it reminds us of the songs and bring many of our own memories to mind. When things were easier, simpler and music was our currency and language of sorts growing up. Saying the things we either wanted to say or teaching us things we wanted It shows for some critics and fans This is holy their own religion almost. Truly how they relate to the world and how an examination of what they love or obsess over helps them find themselves and helps define them.The book is insanely quotable How much work went into how starting mixing messages, opinions and theory with the music of others as support to stand on. Full of creativity, emotions and outlooks. How the songs were like the gospel and spirituals to the world with some punchlines to keep some of it fun and light while others heavy. How it graduated to them making their own beats and music. Taking ownership of their sound and finding their own identity This book offers not only a Breakdown of what the music means and meant to them. Not to mention how it might have affected the audience at large. Decoding it and it’s language as well as facts and theories melding them all together. As a biography of sorts that comes across as a love letter full of intellect and emotion.How what seems so simple, so easy for some will have others obsessed with how they did it and how many it will affect.Strong enough to change lives and decisions and it’s only supposed to be for entertainment and enjoyment. Maybe most don’t get caught up or taken it as seriously
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  • Justin Hairston
    January 1, 1970
    The crucial understanding that underlies this book and is largely attributable for its success is this: that a group is not just a group, and an album is not just album, and a song is certainly not just a song. They’re inter-stitched and folded into the layered fabrics of our lives, and we never just hear them as they are- there’s always a filter of experience and emotion and context and other art. All of that renders the act of listening to and humming along with and knowing and loving music in The crucial understanding that underlies this book and is largely attributable for its success is this: that a group is not just a group, and an album is not just album, and a song is certainly not just a song. They’re inter-stitched and folded into the layered fabrics of our lives, and we never just hear them as they are- there’s always a filter of experience and emotion and context and other art. All of that renders the act of listening to and humming along with and knowing and loving music inherently personal, and yet communal in an almost celestial way. It’s why the act of singing or dancing or playing or listening transcends time and culture and law and land. Even when nothing makes sense, music is there - piercing and covering and emanating from everything we love.Hanif Abduraqib is basically my favorite writer, and this book helped me love A Tribe Called Quest in a way I never previously could. I have my own weird history with Tribe; before I really listened to rap, my youth group leader initially recommended them as a gateway to appreciate and wade into the genre. I gave them a cursory listen and would occasionally put them on the background, but it never truly clicked. As I read through this book - a riveting diary entry of a group biograpby - I listened to each of Tribe’s 6 albums chronologically as I learned of their history, and found the music falling on new (and newly appreciative) ears.Possibly I loved them more this time because I listened more carefully, and had the context of knowing the names and voices of each member and their relationships with one another. Probably, it was because I now felt like I knew them deeper than that- as people turned characters turned people again. As young kids from New York, just trying to carve and scrape a large enough chunk of the world outside to call their own for a while. As brothers who built and fought and built some more, as success turned to tragedy, and on and on. Their story wasn’t always my story, but now I had a new lens to stack on top of my own, letting the colors and feelings of Hanif’s writing bleed into the way I engaged with Tribe. I’m very grateful for that, and I’m very grateful that Hanif felt called to publicly disentangle his deep and complicated emotions about Tribe in this format. The best parts of this book are the parts where the lines between Tribe’s history and Hanif’s own start to blur. To turn what could’ve been a simple recounting of the rise and fall of this supernova of a rap group into a new, personal jazz of its own feels like something Tribe would appreciate more than anything - I know I sure did.
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  • Chaz
    January 1, 1970
    A very well written, thoughtful, introspective and extrospective book. Not at all what I was expecting, but very well done!
  • Tobias
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely fantastic.
  • Rachel Davies
    January 1, 1970
    hanif is the best writer
  • Scott Tappa
    January 1, 1970
    I need to read more of what this guy writes, and more books about the music of my childhood.
  • s w
    January 1, 1970
    It’s not surprising that there are many moments of incredible writing throughout this whole book. I love the way that Hanif writes about music and emotion—how could the two ever be separate experiences?Go Ahead in the Rain goes deep and broad on a single topic (unlike his previous collection), and I really enjoyed that depth and breadth.
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  • Kaitlin
    January 1, 1970
    I love Hanif's writing. It makes me want to write more, read more, find enjoyment more, do everything just more.This book is such a wonderful, earnest, loving look at a connection between music and culture, worlds familar and new, sounds, life, everything.I will always recommend all of his writing to everyone and hold it dearly to me.
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  • Gemma
    January 1, 1970
    "There is plenty out there worth doing alone, but for everything else, there is a need for your people. It would behoove you to have a crew." I CRIED THE WHOLE TIME
  • Jacqueline
    January 1, 1970
    A love letter to ATCQ, reflections on the history of rap and how it pays homage to lineage & samples as a way of remembering the past & your lineage, connections between the author’s pivotal coming-of-age years with the soundtrack that narrated it.. good stuff. I only wish there had been a playlist designed to synchronize with the narration. *plays my vinyl copy of Midnight Marauders, instead*
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  • Roxanne
    January 1, 1970
    The front cover of the book says everything you need to know about the content within:"It is a love letter to a group, a sound, and an era."Abdurraqib's third book, Go Ahead in the Rain, is a personal narrative intertwined with what I would imagine to be an amazing course in Hip-Hop Studies if there were ever to be one focused on A Tribe Called Quest. His eloquent voice transports the reader effortlessly through various scenes in history, focusing not only on the origins of one particular rap gr The front cover of the book says everything you need to know about the content within:"It is a love letter to a group, a sound, and an era."Abdurraqib's third book, Go Ahead in the Rain, is a personal narrative intertwined with what I would imagine to be an amazing course in Hip-Hop Studies if there were ever to be one focused on A Tribe Called Quest. His eloquent voice transports the reader effortlessly through various scenes in history, focusing not only on the origins of one particular rap group but on the influence their world around them had on their music – and vice versa. He writes letters directly addressing each member of the group, but also to the people close to them. Abdurraqib approaches the evolution of the genre with both the sharpness of a critic and the open mindedness of a student. Even if you aren't very keen on ATCQ's music, the book will make you feel as though you are reliving the very moments they lived. It takes you through a journey of friendship, brotherhood, pain, celebration, battle, and acceptance. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those interested in music writing.
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  • jeremy
    January 1, 1970
    hanif + atcq = jazz (they've got) even the way one exhales after a good laugh rumbles the walls of a room can sound like bass flooding out of the speakers.
  • Miles
    January 1, 1970
    Review TK in a more formal setting, but, I mean, yeah: Hanif is really, really talented.***UPDATE (2/15/19)*** Full review here: https://t.co/XvYiK4Qmf2
  • Philip Shade
    January 1, 1970
    While I'm more of a De La Soul fan, I really enjoyed Hanif Abdurraqib's critical and personal review and reminiscing of Tribe Called Quest's career."Everyone wants the genius to eventually fall apart as a penance, some punishment for getting to close to the sun."Abdurraqib mixes together his culture, rap culture, and African American culture into a series of stories, letters, histories, and anecdotes that truly belie his life long love of jazz and hip-hop. I found whole pages where I wanted to q While I'm more of a De La Soul fan, I really enjoyed Hanif Abdurraqib's critical and personal review and reminiscing of Tribe Called Quest's career."Everyone wants the genius to eventually fall apart as a penance, some punishment for getting to close to the sun."Abdurraqib mixes together his culture, rap culture, and African American culture into a series of stories, letters, histories, and anecdotes that truly belie his life long love of jazz and hip-hop. I found whole pages where I wanted to quote every line, individually, to social media. There are some sections that feel overly "inside baseball" to me. I think fans will love it, but the casual reader (i.e. me) may find themselves skipping a few pages. I didn't grow up on MTV and have a very deep, but also very different relationship with music than Abdurraqib. But I think we both share the same love for music, and our particualr heroes, that transcends genre. Add in his obvious scholarship in researching the band and it's a really impressive book.
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