What I'm reading: Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib

Moving linearly through Tribe’s catalog, Go Ahead in the Rain details how the group and hip-hop at large evolved throughout the 1990s. Abdurraqib’s essays are accessible yet rich, threading various histories to situate Tribe’s place within rap, black music, and black culture. He offers compact introductions to Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, and anyone else who brushed shoulders with or influenced the group. Whether he’s using the Sanford and Son joke buried within “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” to illustrate how little East Coast rappers knew about the West Coast, or examining Q-Tip’s Mobb Deep collaborations to dwell on his many uses of jazz samples, Abdurraqib never misses a chance to be as panoramic as he is granular. A Tribe Called Quest is his muse and his lens into the past.

- Pitchfork review by Stephen Kearse

Go ahead in the rain companion playlist