They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

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 recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whethe...

Details They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

TitleThey Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Release DateNov 14th, 2017
PublisherTwo Dollar Radio
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Music, Poetry, Autobiography, Memoir

Reviews They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

  • Pat
    I'd never cried while reading an essay about fall out boy before, so that was new
  • Samantha Irby
  • 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.Abdurraqi...
  • 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 F...
  • Melissa
    "Joy, in these moments, is the sweetest meal that we keep chasing the perfect recipe for, among a world trying to gather all of the ingredients for itself. I need it to rest on my tongue especially when I am angry, especially when I am afraid, especially when nothing makes sense other than the fact that joy has been, and will always be, the thing that first pulls me from underneath the covers when nothing else will. It is the only part of me that...
  • Brad
    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 be...
  • Renata
    I L O V E D this. I forget where I saw it recommended but I almost didn't pick it up because it's a lot of music criticism of music I don't especially like, but it was overall so highly recommended that I checked it out. And I'm so glad I did!! The author is also a poet and you can definitely tell, his style is so beautiful and moving. Even when I'm not familiar with the artists, these essays are always about more than music. (I have to admit I d...
  • Ari
    IQ "I'm not sold on pessimism as the new optimism. I need something that allows us to hope for something greater while confronting the mess of whatever all this blind hopefulness has driven us to. America is not what people thought it was before, even for those of us who were already familiar with some of its many flaws. What good is endless hope for a country that never runs out of ways to drain you of it? What does it mean to claim that preside...
  • Tessa
    I've been thinking about going back to school lately, asking myself when and how and why. That last one is the hardest--weird to think about further following my academic interests in writing and culture when it feels like the world is in critical need of other kinds of help. This collection was such a reminder of what writing can do. Not to replace other important parts of life, but to make sense of them, process them, reflect them back. I read ...
  • Heather
    This is, single-handedly, the greatest music/culture book I have ever read. Two essays in and I felt that; two essays in and I was recommending it far and wide. It sustained across the whole collection. Hanif writes in a way that blows music out beyond a sub-culture; it's true that it bleeds into everyday life, but to see it articulated in such a way is surreal and fantastic as a reader and a music fan. He is basically what every music writer sho...
  • Patrick McG
    When I got this book in the mail, I went a little crazy with the letter opener, leaving a long straight cut down the center of the cover.I am sorry. To have something this beautiful, so damaged.
  • Tobias
    Do you like excellent essays on subjects ranging from punk rock to familial complexities? Well then.
  • Paisley Green
    As I sat in a teaching conference this week and heard someone scoff, "Kendrick Lamar winning a Pulitzer in music? Are you kidding? What has this world come to?", I'm eternally grateful for Hanif Abdurraqib's collection, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us. He is an essayist who clearly loves music, how it can render someone vulnerable but also provide the net to catch them, how it can both articulate and keep at bay one's encroaching inner dark...
  • Sarah
    3.5 rounded downAn interesting collection - if at times a mixed bag - of essays. The first half of the book is mostly essays about music and bands - including Cute Is What We Aim For (even typing their name makes me feel like it's 2006 again and I'm on Myspace or something), Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance among others. I have to admit that while I enjoyed the essays on those three bands I did end up skipping a couple of others, ones about band...
  • Isabelle Rivers-McCue
    Lyrical, thought-provoking, and simultaneously wonderful and challenging to read. The essay structure allows you to pick up and pause as needed, allowing more time to digest and reflect on the stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Sarah Walz
    No book has made me cry more
  • Madison
    I'm in awe of this book. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib managed something beautiful with these pieces, and I found myself misty-eyed over his description of venues I've been to, cities I've lived in, and bands I've seen a hundred times. He weaves those stories delicately within a larger narrative about race, violence, and his own personal experiences. In this collection of essays published over the course of his career thus far as a pop culture critic, ...
  • Simone
    Man, these were great. Hanif is going to be speaking in town next week, so I wanted to read these ahead of his visit and these essays, in the words of Samantha Irby's review, "cracked my heart wide open."
  • Jak Krumholtz
    Ahhh! Hanif is so good. My sister mailed me this book (not something we do) because it hit her. And it did the same for me. And he's from Ohio. And he's amazing. This book will move you. And may make you cry a few times. And make you want to look up artists you thought you had no interest in. (My Chemical Romance) My new favorite author. Please read.
  • Melissa
    A volume of sharp, insightful criticism about the intersections of music and culture, specifically punk, rap, and being a black, Muslim man who has often been the only brown face at a show, but also grief, loss, and hope. Abdurraqib is also a poet and it shows in the way he constructs his sentences: “No one decides when the people we love are actually gone. May we all be buried on our own terms.”
  • Samantha
    So, once upon a time, I wanted to write for Rolling Stone when I grew up, and reading this book sort of immersed me back in that dream. One can write about music, politics, or culture, but to write about them all together is to acknowledge that for many of us, there exists a soundtrack to our experiences. And music has that ability to either brush up against our lives, conflict with our feelings, or fully hit us with the exact message or support ...
  • Jenny McDougal
    abdurraqib's voice is singular and poetic; a stunning, expansive, and thoughtful collection.
  • Tim Hatton
    Abdurraqib is unmistakably a poet, and a poet’s love and attention for humanity and for rich language spill out of these essays.
  • Erica
    I connected with pretty much every essay in this collection, especially all the ones about pop punk/emo.I laughed, I cried, I felt the frustration of life all throughout this book. It was excellent; I enjoyed every minute reading it.
  • Vivek
    There are some books, man. Some books that just make you stop every few minutes and stare and close your eyes and let the unpunctuated words echo around a bit in your head and where every few chapters you've gotta steel yourself when you feel the feels. Prose as poetry, and when you're done you'll feel like you know Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib like you know your closest friends. This is one that sticks with you.
  • Wyodawn
    Didn’t finish, couldn’t stand it.
  • Toks
    So much beauty. So much heartbreak. The perfect book to end 2017 on.
  • David
    Although I feel it's a bit of an injustice to an author's talent to compare them to another author, putting a frame of reference on something that you just read in an effort to increase its visibility is best done by associating the unfamiliar with the familiar. Abdurraqib made me feel the same way that reading Nick Hornby did years ago. I absolutely devoured Hornby's "High Fidelity" due to its conversational style and informative pop culture re...