Home Site

A Tribe Called Quest

  • People’s Instinctive Travels
  • And The Paths Of Rhythm

  • The Low End Theory

  • Album Reviews |

    A Tribe Called Quest

    Related Artists - De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Run DMC
    Related Genres - Hip Hop & Soul

    People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm 8 ( 1990 )
    Push It Along / Luck of Lucien / After Hours / Footprints / I Left My Wallet in El Segundo / Public Enemy / Bonita Applebum / Can I Kick It? / Youthful Expression / Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts) / Mr. Muhammad / Ham 'n' Eggs / Go Ahead in the Rain / Description of a Fool

    The follow-up to De La Soul's 'Three Feet High And Rising' that never was. 'A Tribe Called Quest' filled a gap in the market as De La Soul got all serious on us. Well, there isn't the same level of playfullness here either as 'Three Feet High', yet there's a smooth, sensuous and funky jazzy groove instead. It sounds like a high-brow rap album, one you could play at dinner parties yet still get down to later on your own when you're going out on a Friday night. It's classy, what can I say? It received largely good critical receptions upon release, yet there were one or two dissenters. Rolling Stone famously called it 'one of the least danceable rap albums ever' and 'boring'. It met with only cult commercial success and these days can perhaps seen to have been merely ahead of its time. So much so, it still sounds 'current' even today. It truly has a timeless appeal which is so rare in rap/hip-hop circles. A whole host of samples of soul and funk / jazz music features, tiny grooves or guitar/bass lines. Well, with a few exceptions. Minor hit 'Can I Kick It' is built entirely around the 'Walk On The Wildside' bass-line but the song is different enough with the rapping and all to not deserve to be called gratuitous. I'd give the album a nine by the way but the second half of the album doesn't really build upon the first half. A couple of the very best tunes are on the first half of the album anyway, the opener 'Push It Along' and 'Footprints'. 'Push It Along' is nearly eight minutes long. It builds upon a heavy bass drum, a soul music guitar phrase and ultra smooth rapping from Q-Tip. 'Footprints' sports absolutely superbly smooth rapping atop a soul groove. It's all good.

    The last couple of tracks on the album do up the tempo slightly. The final tune is the hardest hitting and most 'tradditional' sounding rap tune here. 'Go Ahead In The Rain' is funky as all hell, several things going on, more superior rapping on display. We could have done with more tracks like these on 'side two' and more tracks like the greatly hilarious and fun 'Ham And Eggs'. Playfulness and humour go a long way in rap music, but I guess too many tracks like this would spoil the smooth flow of the album overall. It's a very solid album and not the only fine album 'A Tribe Like Quest' would make. .

    Add A Comment?

    Readers Comments

    Jon Queens, New York
    People's Instinctive is somewhat simple and boring. The lyrics and delivery from both Tip and Phife are nothing to write about. Other than "Bonita Applebum" and "Can I Kick It?" you should really skip this record. Move on to "The Low End Theory" one of the greatest albums in music history. "Midnight Marauders" is pretty good too.

    top of page The Low End Theory ( 1991 )
    Excursions / Buggin' Out / Rap Promoter / Butter / Verses From the Abstract / Show Business / Vibes and Stuff / The Infamous Date Rape / Check the Rhime / Everything Is Fair / Jazz (We've Got) / Skypager / What? / Scenario

    Rolling Jazz/Funk basslines together with short snatches of actual Jazz records, 'The Low End Theory' fuses both styles although leans far more towards being a hip-hop album. It draws connections between Jazz and Hip-Hop, among other styles, although the musical focus is more consistent than their acclaimed debut. This second album from the Queens hip hop crew consists of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammed. Not heavy on guest stars at all, although one notable guest is an early public appearence from Busta Rhymes. Musically, apart from the Jazz textures, everything is largely stripped back to allow the vocals, drums and bass to shine, the essence of good hip-hop. 'Excursions' is a statement of intent, riding along Jazz rhythms which underpin the beats and a great, smooth vocal flow. This kind of track wouldn't appear out of place on an Eric B and Rakim album, which is high recommendation in our house. 'Buggin Out' sports a funky Jazz bass line, drum beats and constant flowing raps weaving in and out but really just the backing alone, all so simple, is enough by itself. Never in a million years really hardcore, 'A Tribe Called Quest' do include smattering of musically harder hitting songs, 'Butter' perhaps one of the best in that style here. Again, good rap and the Jazz sample that weaves in is really nice. Vocally, although still largely dominated by Q-Tip, 'The Low End Theory' also makes plenty of room for Phife Dawg whilst Ali Shaheed Muhammad dominates the musical side of things.

    'Check The Rhime' is a very clever musical construction whilst still retaining the overall simplicity of the vocals, bass and drums style. A small snatch of a sample here and there and you know, people really don't (or can't?) make hip-hop much like this these days. The genre grew-up that's all - yet it's difficult to go back to such purity once that's happened. Anyway, 'Check The Rhime' is really funky and the words and vocal sounds, hypnotic. One critiscm I levelled at the groups debut LP was the fact the 2nd half failed to match the glorious first. That's far less of a problem here with the likes of 'Everything Is Fair', 'Jazz (We've Got)' and the Busta Rhymes assisted 'Scenario'. With Charlie Brown and Dinco D as well as Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes, 'Scenario' is a musically tight delight from beginning to end. Busta growls and sings of 'Dungeon's Dragons' etc, etc - I like Busta Rhymes, a funny and entertaining rap artist. #

    Add A Comment?

    top of page this page last updated 01/05/11

    Full Archive - Sort by Decade - Sort by Genre

    Album Reviews | A-Z Artists | Beginners Guides | Twitter | Blogs We Like |
    Channel Youtube | Contact Us | Find New Music | Features | Music & Web Apps | Ratings At A Glance
    Singles Bar | Top 100 Albums | Top 100 Songs |

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

    Made In Devon.