Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest
“All of this is about mercy. I’m talking about what it is to be from a place that promises to love you while holding a gun to your neck. I’m talking about what it feels like to have the gun lowered, briefly, by the hands of some unseen grace. Sometimes, it is a protest that stretches long into the night, or sometimes it is a reading where a room hears familiar words and cries along with you as you read them out loud. But sometimes, it is a perfect album that arrives just in time to build a small community around you. To briefly hold a hand over your eyes and make a new and welcoming darkness of the world outside, even when it is on fire.”
GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN: NOTES TO A TRIBE CALLED QUEST was just perfect. It was a book I didn’t want to finish. I balanced reading it and listening to it at the same time. I usually listen to audiobooks on my way to work. As soon as I pull into the parking lot I turn off my car no matter where I happen to stop, knowing it will just pick back up again once I am on the way home. I always try to get to work early to prep for the kids, always in a rush to my classroom, but chapter 10, titled Family Business, had me waiting in my car for ten extra minutes because I just had to finish. It was the perfect way to start my day. I walked out of my car with a smile and a tear.
There is something so intimate about the way Hanif Abdurraqib writes. There is a warmth to this book that I could feel down to my toes. I immediately messaged an old buddy from high school to read this book, because I remember driving in that old blue car, that you had to put in neutral when you went down hills, listening to a Tribe Called Quest as we passed El Segundo on the 1. Bopping our heads to “Left My Wallet in El Segundo” and laughing at the absurdity of such a song, about a place we knew so well.
There is nothing more to say here except this book is truly exactly what it says it is, “a love letter to a group, a sound, and an era.”