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“It’s spectacular.” — The New York Times
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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 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.
“Written with such insight and tenderness that I read it in a day and immediately read the whole thing again… It’s spectacular.” —The New York Times
“A breathtaking collection… The struggle between anguish and hope, between a well-impacted cynicism and the optimism needed to face another day underscores nearly every essay.” —Washington Post
“Funny, painful, precise, desperate, and loving throughout. Not a day has sounded the same since I read him.” —Greil Marcus
“Poignant and important. Abdurraqib offers a perspective that connects music, art, and memory, with the political realities of our time.” —Esquire, Best Books of 2017
“No sentence is laden, no word is overused… a joy.” – The Guardian
“The effect of his writing is like the effect of the music: it can be bracing, comforting, uplifting, cathartic. It is an open door into other perspectives.” – Prospect Magazine