Hi. I wrote A Couple Of Books.
GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN: NOTES TO A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
A New York Times Best Seller
“[R]iveting and poetic…Abdurraqib's gift is his ability to flip from a wide angle to a zoom with ease. He is a five-tool writer, slipping out of the timeline to deliver vivid, memoiristic splashes as well as letters he's crafted to directly address the central players, dead and living.”
“[W]arm, immediate, and intensely personal...This lush and generous book is a call to pay proper respects not just to a sound but to a feeling.”
—New York Times
“Abdurraqib's book doesn't attempt an arm's length, scholarly approach to analyzing the group and its music; instead, Abdurraqib speaks from his own experiences, often in the form of questioning or appreciative open letters to members of the band. It's a bold conceit, but if the book loses a bit of reserved objectivity in the process, it gains much more: an emotional grounding for why the group was so important to the author, and, by extension, why their music should matter to readers, too.”
“Even those who know little about the music will learn much of significance here, perhaps learning how to love it in the process.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“Go Ahead in the Rain is more than just an homage to A Tribe Called Quest…it's more like a reckoning. The result is a critical examination of the group—their message and history—as well as a musical memoir of sorts, and an exploration of the lasting impact music can have on the soul.”
“Abdurraqib explores and exposes the power of music, of art, to not just connect with people, but to connect people, to make movements, to inspire change and revolution, on levels both large and small. In powerful, poetic language, Abdurraqib makes clear the legacy of ATCQ, both the one the group called upon for their own creation and the one they left behind.”
THEY CAN'T KILL US UNTIL THEY KILL US
"Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a penetrating and profoundly timely collection of essays. It is music writing at its sharpest, most perceptive, and most urgent... Most remarkable, perhaps, is Abdurraqib’s ability to perceive and define connections between his subjects, himself, and the fractured, complicated culture in which we live."
—Foreword Reviews (starred review)
"Abdurraqib’s essay collection is mesmerizing and deeply perceptive... filled with honesty, providing the reader with the sensation of seeing the world through fresh eyes."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Abdurraqib writes with uninhibited curiosity and insight about music and its ties to culture and memory, life and death, on levels personal, political, and universal... Abdurraqib’s poignant critiques, a catalog of the current moment and all that preceded it, inspire us to listen with our whole selves."
—Booklist (starred review)
"These are essays about music, but also about culture, race, and life in America today. Willis-Abdurraqib writes about attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, what it was like growing up in America in the 1990s, the first time he was thrown on the ground by police officers, and much more."
—Book Riot, 20 Great Essay Collections from 2017
"In all of Abdurraqib’s poetic essays, there is the artist, the work, the nation, and himself. The author effortlessly navigates among these many points before ultimately arriving at conclusions that are sometimes hopeful, often sorrowful, and always visceral. Erudite writing from an author struggling to find meaning through music."
"Certain writers can take a pop song or musician as their subject and turn what they write into a stunning evocation of some aspect of society. That’s very much the case with Hanif Abdurraqib, and in this new collection he covers everything from the Columbus punk scene to Chance the Rapper, coming up with stunning observations along the way."
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
THE CROWN AIN'T WORTH MUCH
"To pinpoint a highlight of the book is impossible. Every poem is honed, polished, and presented with utter rawness and defiance."―Portland Book Review
"Willis-Abdurraqib possesses a striking gift for merging pop culture with personal narrative."―Publishers Weekly
"THE CROWN AIN'T WORTH MUCH is not so much a book you read, but one you survive―with Willis-Abdurraqib's compassionate, elegiac lyric gently pushing you forward through heartbreak and violence."―Indiana Review