Go Ahead in the Rain

A nonfiction book by Hanif Abdurraqib.

Hanif Abdurraqib

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 Theoryand 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. (From University of Texas Press)

From the book

If you were a resident of a home that cared about hip-hop in the 1980s and 1990s, your home probably got a monthly delivery of The Source magazine. And if your home didn't get it, you maybe knew the home of some other hip-hop fan who got it, and you maybe knew you could sneak off with it after they were done with their initial read. My brother kept his issues stacked in a corner, next to the large chest that held all his cassette tapes. Even in the nineties, when the CD player was becoming more and more prominent as the cost of one declined from the early to mid-1980s, allowing more CDs to be produced, my brother stuck with his loyalty to the cassette tape, influencing me to also develop a loyalty to the cassette tape.

From Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib ©2019. Published by University of Texas Press.

Interviews with Hanif Abdurraqib

Other books by Hanif Abdurraqib