You should go read this one. For one, it’s a really satisfying set of cultural essays written with the mindset and language of a well-informed poet. It’s also a perfect execution in observation and scope. Abdurraqib knows what he’s talking about. I mean that in non-colloquial ways. His perspective from which these essays are written are so interconnected with their topics and his sense of scale and scope are generally perfectly in tune. He doesn’t speak beyond his knowledge, he doesn’t speak for anyone besides himself, and he doesn’t attempt to elevate his conversation into spaces that the arguments, the observations, or the writing cannot maintain the weight of. Not every piece in here is perfect, and since I usually reserve 5 stars for books that are perfectly executed and which I personally connect with (or something about the experience of reading them) this one is all but 5 stars. He and I are about the same age and share a lot of musical tastes, but we’re two very different people when it comes to our experiences. But I found this book to be one that I read almost straight through….30 minutes….an hour…and then two hours. I was making dinner while reading, doing laundry while reading, and walking around the house while reading. And I don’t mean an audiobook…I mean my nose in the book like a cartoon. I don’t know that the essays will stick with me beyond the reading, but some of his various juxtapositions and pairings are really interesting.
It’s also got a terrific and hip looking cover.