They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us


Book - 2017
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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 essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others--along with original, previously unreleased essays-- Abdurraquib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ouselves, and in doing so proves himself a bellwether for out times.
Publisher: Columbus, OH : Two Dollar Radio, 2017
ISBN: 9781937512651
Characteristics: 285 p. ; 19 cm


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May 28, 2019

Though I picked up this collection by the Ohio-born writer Hanif Abdurraqib because he writes about music, the essays here cover a wide range of topics and even the music ones touch on issues of race, culture, and identity. Abdurraqib's musical tastes are eclectic, ranging from Carly Rae Jepsen to emo, which I never really got, to Marvin Gaye to The Weeknd. Regardless of what he's writing about, his voice is fresh, intelligent, and engaged. He has a new book out about Tribe Called Quest."

May 09, 2019

A must read. For fans of modern culture, music, and protests. This book effortlessly switches from talking about Kendrick Lamar to Carly Rae Jensen to personal tragedy to political and racial justice. Hanif Abdurraqib is funny and honest and complicated. He’s paying attention to so much of our culture that it feels overwhelming at times. This book is fantastic, if you like the essay format this is an amazing example of what the genre should be.

Dec 20, 2018

I absolutely loved this collection of essays. What drew me to it initially is my several-year history with the city of Columbus, Ohio, and my intent following of publications by Two Dollar Radio. Some of my favorite books draw me in in unexpected ways. I don't have a personal connection with many of the musicians mentioned in the book, but that did not stop me from appreciating them in new ways and connecting to Abdurraqib's experience.

OPL_ErinD Jun 05, 2018

I was unprepared for the strong emotional response I had to this collection of essays. You don't have to have experienced Chance The Rapper, or Cute Is What We Aim For, or Carly Rae Jepsen the same way the Abdurraqib did (or at all) to feel the deep connections that can exist between music, coming of age and our collective experiences. Abdurraqib's writing reminds me that great culture writing is more than a critique, it is an invitation to an experience.

Apr 05, 2018

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us is poetic, poignant, and promising. The author's use of language is emotionally enticing and his capacity to share his thoughts in a such a tangible way is enthralling and heartbreaking. Abdburraqib has the ability to expose the skeleton of popular culture and lay it at the feet of the audience, clutching a bouquet of human condition. This book spoke to me more than anything I've read in a long time.

LPL_DirectorBrad Feb 21, 2018

I can't adequately describe how much or just why I love this book so much. Hanif Abdurraqib writes so powerfully and with such insight about all the things we as a nation are grappling with right now.

[A note to potential readers: I loved this book out of the gate but a few essays about emo bands about 80 or so pages in gave me a bit of a stumble near the middle of the book, and I almost didn't finish. What a tremendous mistake that would have been. Perhaps I have been watching too much Olympic downhill skiing, but this book just gains power as it moves forward.]

The density of insight, observation, and challenges to do better beg for multiple readings. I kept wanting to read the next essay but knew I wasn't taking adequate time to synthesize all the knowledge getting dropped on me at every turn.

Read this now!

LPL_KateG Dec 19, 2017

Lawrence, KS readers: author Hanif Abudurraqib is coming to The Raven Bookstore on Tues 2/27! More details here, and space is limited --


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