Go Ahead in the Rain

Go Ahead in the Rain

Notes to A Tribe Called Quest

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: Austin :, University of Texas Press,, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781477316481
Branch Call Number: 782.421649 T8222W
Characteristics: 207 pages ; 19 cm.


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Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Nov 21, 2019

Not to say they don’t exist, but I've never read a book quite like this, one where the writer (so talented) uses a tribute (so heartfelt) to his favorite group as a lens to explore hip hop, family, community, and politics. It was fun and informative. One thing was missing, though- consideration of the presence of homophobia and misogyny in some of their early work and their evolution over the last three decades. Knocking off some stars for that. As a Tribe fan, though, I really enjoyed this one. Not sure about the appeal to those who are not.

Jun 19, 2019

"Can I kick it? Yes, you can."
In the follow up to his acclaimed collection of essays (many about music), Hanif Abdurraqib writes a "love letter" to the seminal New York rap group A Tribe Called Quest. Formed in Queens in the 80s, they were a key force in what is often considered the genre's golden age and part of a loose collective called Native Tongues, which included other icons like De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and Black Sleep. They released 5 albums in the 90s, many of them classics, before an acrimonious break up at the end of the decade. Q-Tip remained active and they occasionally reunited for shows but wouldn't release any new music until 2016. Their triumphant return was undermined by the untimely death of founding member Phife Dawg. All to say, there's a lot of drama to their story and there was already a documentary about them. Abdurraqib writes as a fan and offers an engaging snapshot of the era and Tribe's peers/contemporaries like Wu-Tang, Dr. Dre, and J Dilla. As in his previous book, Abdurraqib weaves in autobiographical elements and critical observations. Even the casual hip-hop fan will appreciate it.


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