They can't kill us until they kill us Essays

Hanif Abdurraqib, 1983-

Book - 2017

"In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib's is a voice that matters. Whether he's attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown's grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly. In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others--along with original, previously unreleased essays-- Abdurraquib use...s music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ouselves, and in doing so proves himself a bellwether for out times." --

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Subjects
Genres
Essays
Published
Columbus, Ohio : Two Dollar Radio [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
285 pages ; 19 cm
ISBN
9781937512651
1937512657
Main Author
Hanif Abdurraqib, 1983- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* MTV, Pitchfork, and New York Times contributor and poet Abdurraqib (The Crown Ain't Worth Much, 2016) writes with uninhibited curiosity and insight about music and its ties to culture and memory, life and death, on levels personal, political, and universal. He's interested in what sells and what's currency, how music reminds us of who we love or who we've lost or who we once were. Hearing Nina Simone's 1964 recording of "Pirate Jenny" as a preteen shaped him, as did the Midwestern punk/hardcore/emo scenes he grew up with. Released days after Abdurraqib's mother's sudden death, the Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous hit "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems"—and the "shiny suit era" it ushered in—was a kind of light in the darkness, a rap song, with its infectious Diana Ross sample, that Abdurraqib will forever wonder if his mom might have liked. The title of his essay collection comes from a sign left above Michael Brown's memorial in Ferguson, which Abdurraqib visited the day before seeing Bruce Springsteen perform all the songs in The River, "an album of men and women and families and the grand idea of surviving to enjoy it all." Abdurraqib's poignant critiques, a catalog of the current moment and all that preceded it, inspire us to listen with our whole selves. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Abdurraqib's essay collection is mesmerizing and deeply perceptive. Most of the essays are about music, particularly live music, touching on how it acts as a balm in a time of fear and pain. One essay explores being an outsider among outsiders through Abdurraqib's memory of being a black kid at an overwhelmingly white punk rock show, yet imbues this experience of loneliness with a sense of triumph. Not every music writer would think to connect the performative identities of the rap group Migos and Johnny Cash as Abdurraqib does, showing how both are based on an arguably inauthentic outlaw persona. All of the musicians discussed, including Carly Rae Jepsen and Chance the Rapper, are accorded respect, along with an understanding of what needs in their audience they satisfy. Abdurraqib's essays linger on the black American experience, emphasizing the desire to be seen and the fear of being invisible. He doesn't posit music as a cure-all for modern America's societal ills—those he mentions include mass shootings, racial violence, and prejudice against Muslims—but also observes that it "isn't only music" but a way of feeling a sense of belonging. Abdurraqib's essays are filled with honesty, providing the reader with the sensation of seeing the world through fresh eyes. (Nov.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A collection of literary essays by the cultural critic, MTV News columnist and author of The Crown Ain't Worth Much uses music and culture as a gauge for better understanding the world, the self and the challenges of today. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

*2018 "12 best books to give this holiday season" —TODAY Show*Best Books of 2018 —Rolling Stone"A Best Book of 2017" —NPR, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Esquire, Chicago Tribune, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, CBC, Stereogum, National Post, Entropy, Heavy, Book Riot, Chicago Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review, Michigan Daily*American Booksellers Association (ABA) 'December 2017 Indie Next List Great Reads'*Midwest Indie BestsellerIn an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib's is a voice that matters. Whether he's attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown's grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers: for attempting to enter his own car.In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times."Funny, painful, precise, desperate, and loving throughout. Not a day has sounded the same since I read him." —Greil Marcus, Village Voice

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

* 2018 "12 best books to give this holiday season" —TODAY (Elizabeth Acevedo)* A "Best Book of 2017" —Rolling Stone (2018), NPR, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Esquire, Chicago Tribune, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, CBC, Stereogum, National Post, Entropy, Heavy, Book Riot, Chicago Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review, Michigan Daily* American Booksellers Association (ABA) 'December 2017 Indie Next List Great Reads'* Midwest Indie BestsellerIn an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib's is a voice that matters. Whether he's attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown's grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of Black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers: for attempting to enter his own car.In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.