A stunning collection of essays using
music to interrogate the world we live in
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, discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, or ruminating on the impact Notorious B.I.G’s death had on his childhood, 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.
HANIF ABDURRAQIB is a poet, writer and critic from Columbus, Ohio. His essays and music criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The FADER, and Pitchfork. He is currently a columnist at MTV News. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us was originally published by in the US by Two Dollar Radio in 2017.
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