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					                                                                            Robbie Smoot
                                                                          Ron Christiansen
                                                                             English 2010
                                                                          Evaluation paper


                            A Tribe Called Quest


Who they are

       “Back in 95’ she fell in love with the Tribe. Boo, back in 92’ I was just like you”,

this is Kanye West referring to A Tribe Called Quest in his 2009 song “Doing Girls

Wrong”. This quote illustrates the enormous influence A Tribe Called Quest has had

from musicians to people who simply enjoy music. The group formed in 1988 out of

Queens, New York with three members, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and DJ/producer Ali

Shaheed Muhammad. The creativity and prolific MC and production abilities these three

artists encapsulated are uncanny and will influence music for a long time to come. The

group grew up together and attended the same high school.

       In their era, when you heard the term “rap”, it was hardcore gangsters talking

about “bitches”, money, cars and jewelry. Most rapers in what they call the “rap game”

were actually drug dealers, hustlers or some kind of criminal take Notorious B.I.G. for

example. His struggle with dealing drugs was recently displayed in the film Notorious.

And there are countless other rappers with rap sheets.

       When A Tribe Called Quest came into the scene they brought a style that would

forever change the “rap game”. Quoted from the itunes biography of A Tribe Called

Quest it says, “Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990’s,

[they] started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore gangsta rap. In essence,
they abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused

instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks.” So you could say they

revolutionized the art of

rap music, almost

forming another genre

referred to as hip-hop,

although they are

largely considered the

same genre. Hip-hop

has a large jazz or funk

or even 70’s rock

influence in it. If you

asked a hip-hop fan what the difference between rap and hi-hop is, you may get an

answer such as this, “Hip-hop is creative while rap is predictable”. Amen. The main

thing to know is there is a distinction between the two kinds of music.



They’re music

       The first album was released in 1989 titled, Instinctive Travels and the Paths of

Rhythm. With the production of the album the group mixed many messages in their

lyrics. They had songs that touched on serious topics, such as venereal disease, and made

it sound cool. The track “Can I kick It?” was recently used in a Gatorade commercial, to

further illustrate the influence this music has had in our lives, even if we aren’t aware of

it. The sophomore effort, debuting in 1991 and titled The Low End Theory, would by far
exceed all expectations and is “held up as perhaps the best hip-hop LP of all time.”(Itunes

biography) The next album released in 1993 and titled Midnight Marauders, although

not as critically acclaimed, showed that they had a tight bond with the rap community.

The album booklet insert showed faces of more than 50 rappers, ranging from De La

Soul, a fellow member of the Native Tongues Posse, a collective of like-minded hip hop

artists, to the likes of The Beastie Boys. Midnight Marauders is the highest selling album

they’ve produced. The following two albums wouldn’t break any records, yet remain as

fine albums for one’s music collection, the albums titled, Beats, Rhymes and Life, 1996,

and then followed by The Love Movement, released in 1998. Later in 1998 A Tribe

Called Quest announced their ultimate breakup.



Way ahead of their time

       It’s been twenty years since their debut album was released and it’s still better

than any rap or hip-hop music. This music is considered a classic of its genre and has

proved to be timeless. The way Ali Shaheed Muhammad produced the music, with fresh

jazz hooks and funky beats, accompanied with the smooth lyrics of Q-tip and Phife

Dawg, The Tribe Called Quest makes for the easiest listening experience you can find.

Electronic relaxation appropriately titles one of the classic tracks. If you don’t like the

rap music you hear on the radio, you’re not alone, I feel the same way. But don’t judge

the genre by what you hear there, there are gems out there, and A Tribe Called Quest is

one of them and maybe the shiniest. So sit back, relax and listen to the greatest hip-hop

artists of all time. You won’t regret it.
Sources:

Itunes music store “A Tribe Called Quest”

www.atribecalledquest.com

www.vh1.com

				
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posted:9/22/2011
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