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Go Ahead in the Rain

Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
Written by: Hanif Abdurraqib
Narrated by: Ron Butler
Length: 6 hrs and 18 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The seminal rap group A Tribe Called Quest brought jazz into the genre, resurrecting timeless rhythms to create masterpieces. This narrative follows Tribe 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, poet and essayist Hanif 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 are felt in the chest. Digging into the group’s history, Abdurraqib 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.

©2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What the critics say

"[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." (Washington Post)
 

"[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)

What members say

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  • MVV
  • Manhattan, NYC
  • 2019-04-19

Beautiful narration, beautiful words

Not only did I learn all about A TCQ and the history of hip hop; I also enjoyed the incredibly thoughtful and beautiful reflections on cultural history (including but not limited to music), growing up a sibling, nostalgia for the 90s and for childhood/formative years, recent politics, and much more. Beautiful writing, absolutely wonderful narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen Brown
  • 2019-03-07

Amazing

The book captures the spirit of a Tribe Called Quest in amazing detail. The author does such a good job with saluting Tribe, while also making profound statements about growing up & maturing. The book is hard to describe but is certainly worth the read. It explores hip hop history while also explaining the state of the world at the time. I highly recommend this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua Lindell
  • 2019-03-06

Beautiful

I do not often spend a monthly credit on a book as short as 8 hours, but I have long claimed Tribe Called Quest as my favorite hip hop group, and very much wanted to consume the content of this book. I am so very glad that I did.
This is a beautifully written book delivered perfectly. At times informative and often emotional, even threatening to bring tears to my eyes in a few parts. There is nostalgia for things long gone, cassette tapes and eagerly waiting for the next issue of a magazine. There is discussion of music's influence, both at a cultural level and a personal level.
I recommend this work of art.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-03-05

Great book!!! 'Meh' on the narration (sadly)

Incredible and beautiful recounting of a love for hip hop and for the phenomenal rap group that is A Tribe Called Quest. The narration (almost) killed it though. And not 'killed' in a good way. Next time hire someone who knows how to pronounce Eric B and RAH-kim and The Fugees correctly. Just being black doesn't qualify you to narrate a book on great hip hop.

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  • Muva
  • Los Angeles
  • 2019-06-24

Amazing book, somewhat detached narration

This book is interesting, personal, and also incredibly well researched on the history of various hip hop groups and various points in rap history. The book is not just the history of ATCQ, but contextualizes how they came together and created their work. Abdurraqib is a huge music geek and it really shines through in his writing.

The narration is good, very clear, but the performer (not the author) seems detached from the music. He pronounces some names wrong, and seems like he hasn't listened to some of the music quoted in the book. It would've been really cool to have the author doing the narration -- to hear a little more passion in the material -- but this narrator was ok.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful