They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

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 recall...

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Title:They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Author:Hanif Abdurraqib
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Edition Language:English

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Reviews

  • Jason Diamond

    I've read five stellar essay collections that came out in 2017 and this one might sit at the top of the pile. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib has this way of laying out whatever it is he wants to discuss, then beautifully diving into it and taking the reader in directions they weren't expecting, but that all end up feeling totally right. Seeing Bruce Springsteen in 2016 turns into a meditation on something much bigger than simply seeing a rockstar; Ric Flair, growing up Black in the 1990s, Chance the Ra

    I've read five stellar essay collections that came out in 2017 and this one might sit at the top of the pile. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib has this way of laying out whatever it is he wants to discuss, then beautifully diving into it and taking the reader in directions they weren't expecting, but that all end up feeling totally right. Seeing Bruce Springsteen in 2016 turns into a meditation on something much bigger than simply seeing a rockstar; Ric Flair, growing up Black in the 1990s, Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy and so much more. I'd say this is a book of mostly essays on music, but that puts They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us into a box it totally doesn't deserve to be in. These are essays about living and trying to survive in America and they're brilliantly filtered through music and pop culture in a way that makes me think Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is one of our great voices that everybody should pay attention to.

  • Alanna Why

    Did you feel my absence, Goodreads friends? I haven't been here in a while, it seems like I haven't been able to finish a book since September, a month that coincided with me finishing the Neapolitan Novels and moving away from my hometown for the first time. I tried to move on since Ferrante, but her unyielding prose put other author's words to shame and put me in a slump like no other, one that coincided with me being unemployed and cursed with reader's block.

    They Can't Kill Us Until They Kil

    Did you feel my absence, Goodreads friends? I haven't been here in a while, it seems like I haven't been able to finish a book since September, a month that coincided with me finishing the Neapolitan Novels and moving away from my hometown for the first time. I tried to move on since Ferrante, but her unyielding prose put other author's words to shame and put me in a slump like no other, one that coincided with me being unemployed and cursed with reader's block.

    They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us is the first book I've been able to finish in that slump, a collection that reinvigorated my literary senses. I've never read a collection of cultural criticism quite like this. Abdurraqib is a poet, a clever one at that. It shows, whether he is writing about Pete Wentz or Sandra Bland. His talent lies in the juxtaposition of his essays and the twists they take; for instance, making the connection between Migos in one paragraph and Johnny Cash in the next seem natural, logical, inevitable - Why did I never think about it like that before?

    Stand out essays for me were "Brief Notes On Staying // No One Is Making Their Best Work When They Want To Die," "Fall Out Boy Forever," "February 26, 2012," and "On Future And Working Through What Hurts." The only essay that flatlined for me was the one about Fleetwood Mac, but to paraphrase Meatloaf, 42 out of 43 ain't bad.

  • Pat

    I'd never cried while reading an essay about fall out boy before, so that was new

  • Samantha Irby

    CRACKED MY HEART WIDE OPEN

  • Lucy Dacus

    One of those books where you read 20 pages, grab a pen and restart to take notes, and then abandon the pen at page 50 because you're underlining everything and making a mess of ink.

  • chantel nouseforaname

    I’ve never read this type of music writing in say, the pages of the rolling stone or anywhere else that’s popular. Our particular experiences as young black music writers, purveyors and absorbers of the culture, are not given the space to take shape and breathe like this and I love that Hanif Abdurraqib just lets loose what was in his soul on so many different fronts.

    As a metalhead, hip-hop fan and

    I’ve never read this type of music writing in say, the pages of the rolling stone or anywhere else that’s popular. Our particular experiences as young black music writers, purveyors and absorbers of the culture, are not given the space to take shape and breathe like this and I love that Hanif Abdurraqib just lets loose what was in his soul on so many different fronts.

    As a metalhead, hip-hop fan and a young black woman growing up in a variety of scenes — every essay in this book hit me on levels. The pairing of different styles of music, to different life and coming of age experiences — in relation to race, interpersonal relationships, and his personal familial life experiences is again, the best I’ve ever read. I don’t mind stating that over and over. There are highs and lows here story wise, but no filler.

    I love the continuous Marvin Gaye thread throughout the book.

    The juxtaposition of pop culture and his own history is expertly and ingeniously crafted. Johnny Cash as seen in relation to Migos!?? Who would pair these stories together? A genius would! I’m here for it! Fall Out Boy as a retrospective of suicide and death - the insight is powerful.

  • Lauren

    "I'm not as invested in things getting better as I am in things getting honest."

    ▫▫▫

    Hanif Abdurraqib's essay collection 'They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us' was a stunner. Many pieces are about popular music and musicians - Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy, Bruce Springsteen, The Migos, and Johnny Cash - relating certain songs or memories of a live show to larger life subjects like death and grief, race, religion, and growing up.

    Abdurraqib is a poet, and his essays show this pedigree. Beautifu

    "I'm not as invested in things getting better as I am in things getting honest."

    ▫️▫️▫️

    Hanif Abdurraqib's essay collection 'They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us' was a stunner. Many pieces are about popular music and musicians - Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy, Bruce Springsteen, The Migos, and Johnny Cash - relating certain songs or memories of a live show to larger life subjects like death and grief, race, religion, and growing up.

    Abdurraqib is a poet, and his essays show this pedigree. Beautiful quotes and such care with word choice. Can't wait to see what he does next.

    Also, best cover for my 2018 reads 🐺 brilliant design.

    4/5

  • Book Riot Community

    Poet, writer, and critic Willis-Abdurraqib has written a series of smart essays about music and his thoughts and feelings about it in relation to current events and culture, including the Springsteen concert he attended the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave and seeing PDA at a Carly Rae Jepsen show. AND THAT COVER. W-o-w!

    – Liberty Hardy

    ------------

    Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • Kelly

    An outstanding collection of essays about music, race, and life in contemporary America. Hanif is a black Muslim who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and his writing on being who he is in that Midwest space is out of this world good.

    All of the essays have a connection to pop culture, and most to music, and it doesn't matter whether you know or like any of the thematic threadings of the pieces. They're about much, much more.

    (And that Carly Rae Jepson piece!)

    Those who love and laud Roxane Gay would do

    An outstanding collection of essays about music, race, and life in contemporary America. Hanif is a black Muslim who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and his writing on being who he is in that Midwest space is out of this world good.

    All of the essays have a connection to pop culture, and most to music, and it doesn't matter whether you know or like any of the thematic threadings of the pieces. They're about much, much more.

    (And that Carly Rae Jepson piece!)

    Those who love and laud Roxane Gay would do really well to pick this up, too.

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