Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib - "Go Ahead in the Rain" - Tara Betts

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Go Ahead in the Rain reminds anyone fortunate enough to receive its pages that being black in America is to be part of a lineage, that no one person’s story exists in a vacuum, and that, like Hanif with Phife and Ali and Q and Jarobi, connective tissue exists all around us, invisible to the indifferent and brightly illuminated to the curious. ”—Rembert Browne

A reading and discussion with Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest. He will be joined in conversation by Tara Betts. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: 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.

About the Author: Hanif Willis-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 has been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry, and was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was published by Two Dollar Radio. His latest book is Go Ahead in the Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest on University of Texas Press. His next book They Don't Dance No Mo' will be published by Random House in 2020. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing. Additionally, he is a columnist at MTV News, where he writes about music, and fights to get Room Raiders back on the air. He thinks poems can change the world, but really wants to talk to you about music, sports, and sneakers.

About the Interlocutor: Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit, Arc & Hue and the forthcoming Refuse to Disappear. She's a co-editor of The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century and editor of the critical edition of Philippa Duke Schuyler's memoir Adventures in Black and White. In addition to her work as a teaching artist and mentor for young poets, she's taught at Rutgers University, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Chicago State University's MFA Program

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637