#5. A Tribe Called Quest
Hip-hop has no better ambassadors than Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, better known as A Tribe Called Quest. They have been making us shake our butts, move our feet, and bob our heads bringing the beats from the streets since 1990. Their flow is fresh and funky, their lyrics are playful and poignant, and they have been keeping themselves relevant until, despite protests from fans, dissolved their relationship in 1998. They were able to put their differences aside and reformed their musically majestic union in 2006. They just started touring again, so if you get the chance to see them live, you need to go check them out.
I started listening to ATCQ when they dropped their first album in 1990. I had just started high school and was searching for that certain something to help define my style and swag. It was an instant fit. They pretty much supplied the score for my high school career. The Anthony sound track if you will. Each successive album created even more support for likening them and their music. Their continued dedication to being cutting edge, rugged and raw helped develop the funkiness that led to my eclectic style and personality. Their playful banter, well thought out lyrics, and socially relevant themes mirrored my own philosophy of life. I continue to this day to think that their music is the standard bearer for what hip-hop should aspire to be. Many have come before and after, but the Tribe has made the choice easy. They are the Best!
They have worked with many other hip hop artist in collaboration with their music as well as lending their style and flow to each others work. Busta Rhymes, Faith Evans, Mobb Deep, Raphael Sadiq, D’Angelo, Beastie Boys, Leaders of the New School, and the Pharcyde are a few artists and groups they have collaborated with.
Here are some of my favorite songs from their first 5 albums.
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm:
Low End Theory:
Beats Rhymes and Life:
The Love Movement