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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest

4.72  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A New York Times Best Seller

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
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by University of Texas Press (first published 2019)
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4.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jak Krumholtz
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jessica Hopper
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Cassandra Mansuetti
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cassandra by: Verity Sturm
Shelves: favorites
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
Jacob Hoefer
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3 books by Hanif and all 3 have made me cry
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, ...more
Jen Hirt
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.”
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
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"
Jared Levine
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“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.”
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Richard Noggle
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it

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.
Scott Tappa
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I need to read more of what this guy writes, and more books about the music of my childhood.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review TK in a more formal setting, but, I mean, yeah: Hanif is really, really talented.

***UPDATE (2/15/19)*** Full review here:
Robert Felton
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply sensational! Drawing inspiration from, among other things, Otis Redding, Minnie Riperton, Leonard Cohen, Jet magazine, the 2016 election and Hip Hop's adversarial relationship with the Grammy's, he produces a beautifully kaleidoscopic novel that serves as a perfect encapsulation of the history of Rap and the ultimate legacy of the group A Tribe Called Quest, one of the most important bands in the history of contemporary music. This book is more than just a tribute to a great band though. ...more
Joshua Bradley
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest, Hanif Abdurraqib captures the essence, time and even the cadence of the greatest rap group of all time. Weaving his personal journey as a poet with personal letters and a keen sense of the world in which Tribe existed, enfolded and created, Hanif's love letter speaks for us all.
Dane Despres
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Favorite essays: “Common Ground,” “Documentary,” and “Push It Along”

Line: “I imagine the low end to be anything you could touch once but is now just a fading dream.”
Jay Gabler
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An engaging and informative concise look at the career of one of the greatest groups in hip-hop history. I reviewed Go Ahead in the Rain for The Current.
Jonathan Carnegie
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hanif Abdurraqib writes a book. I read said book, and enjoy it immensely. Been a pretty reliable formula so far.
Liz Matheny
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really, really beautiful and moving book. Each chapter can function in isolation, but the collection as a whole functions as the most lovely love letter. We all have that group, that band that shaped us or pulled us through, and Abdurraqib pays his debts to Tribe in this collection.
Nathan Dawson
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much for writing this. Much like their last album, this book puts a wonderful, beautiful cap on the career of ATCQ. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Kevin Krein
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i never wanted this book to end. i hope that when i write about music, or anything, for that matter, i write about it with half as much intelligence and beauty as hanif does.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy holy. This is heartbreaking and gorgeous- and completely worthy of its subject.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, memoir-bio
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.
Rachel Watkins
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hanif Abdurraqib's homage to A Tribe Called Quest is a personal memoir, a history of an often undervalued genre of American music, and a commentary on society's views of a culture. GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN reminds us how much the music of the late 80s and early 90s continues to influence sound today (Tyler the Creator, anyone?).
Justin Hairston
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Rachael Walker
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book dazzles. I knew exactly nothing about A Tribe Called Quest and only cursory information about hip hop and rap’s history, but now I know a hell of a lot more and have seen it with the love and care that can only be given by someone who writes from a place of great love. The part that really got me crying was the very ending: the death of Leonard Cohen — such a great moment of grief for myself as well, especially following in the shadow of the 2016 election — and the hazy, brutal sadness ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't usually do half star reviews, but I'd give this a solid 4.5. Only because there are a couple times, I confess, where I got a bit bored. But...

Hanif, Hanif, Hanif! Man. Can. Write.

Hanif can take any subject matter and craft words that will move just about anyone with a human heart. I'm not a diehard Tribe fan- I'm only passably familiar with them- and I still felt the power and emotion thrumming through every chapter of this book. Hanif's thoughtful writing educates, elucidates, and makes
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Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. ...more