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A Tribe Called Quest

Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest jump-started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore and gangsta rap. In essence, they abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks. The "sucka MC" theme had never been completely ignored in hip-hop, but Tribe confronted numerous black issues -- date rape, use of the word n**ger, the trials and tribulations of the rap industry -- all of which overpowered the occasional game of the dozens. Just as powerful musically, Quest built upon De La Soul's jazz-rap revolution, basing tracks around laid-back samples instead of the played-out James Brown-fests which many rappers had made a cottage industry by the late '80s. Comprised of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Phife, A Tribe Called Quest debuted in 1989 and released their debut album one year later. Second album The Low End Theory was, quite simply, the most consistent and flowing hip-hop album ever recorded, though the trio moved closer to their harder contemporaries on 1993's Midnight Marauders. A spot on the 1994 Lollapalooza Tour showed their influence with the alternative crowd -- always a bedrock of A Tribe Called Quest's support -- but the group kept it real on 1996's Beats, Rhymes and Life, a dedication to the streets and the hip-hop underground.

A Tribe Called Quest was formed in 1988, though both Q-Tip (b. Jonathan Davis) and Phife (b. Malik Taylor) had grown up together in Queens. Q-Tip met DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad while at high school and, after being named by the Jungle Brothers (who attended the same school), the trio began performing. A Tribe Called Quest's recording debut came in August 1989, when their single, "Description of a Fool," appeared on a tiny area label (though Q-Tip had previously guested on several tracks from De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and later appeared on Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart").

Signed to Jive Records by 1989, A Tribe Called Quest released their first album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, one year later. Much like De La Soul, Tribe looked more to jazz as well as '70s rock for their sample base -- "Can I Kick It?" plundered Lou Reed's classic "Walk on the Wild Side" and made it viable in a hip-hop context. No matter how solid their debut was, second album The Low End Theory outdid all expectations and has held up as perhaps the best hip-hop LP of all time.

The Low End Theory had included several tracks with props to hip-hop friends, and A Tribe Called Quest cemented their support of the rap community with 1993's Midnight Marauders. The album cover and booklet insert included the faces of more than 50 rappers -- including obvious choices such as De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers -- as well as mild surprises like the Beastie Boys, Ice-T, and Heavy D. Though impossible to trump Low End's brilliance, the LP offered several classics (including Tribe's most infectious single to date, "Award Tour") and a harder sound than the first two albums. During the summer of 1994, A Tribe Called Quest toured as the obligatory rap act on the Lollapalooza Festival lineup, and spent a quiet 1995, marked only by several production jobs for Q-Tip. Returning in 1996 with their fourth LP, Beats, Rhymes and Life, Tribe showed signs of wear; it was a good album, but proved less striking than The Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders. While touring in support of 1998's The Love Movement, the group announced their impending breakup. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Is Monday getting down on you, Lavondra, because you're making me wonder what is the purpose of your false statement are you a muslim playing?
Rip Phife dog
Takes me back to great times
Midnight Marauders! Classic hip hop! Much respect to ATCQ
rick_ny1
Amazing dude
Lov this song The Love Movement good Cd
Don't read this because it actually works you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop this is so scary. Put this in 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. i DIDN'T REALLY LIKE THIS
I love this.
I bump The Love Movement like it came out yesterday, it's my favorite.
A T C Q one of the best hip hop groups ever!!!!!!!! : )
Nice
r.clark2800
I love you
Bonita Applebum used to be my shhh in the early 90's, and still is. I still bump The love movement like it came out yesterday, while driving my car. A T C Q, shows that hip-hip is not the way it used to be anymore, today it's a bunch of crap.
Really good album.
littlehal74
Back when we said whooty who
yes it is .;-)
stead340
I love it awesome!!!!! !
For the people...

Memories!!!
My all time Fav!!!
Yeeeeeah main the Tribe I'm from 813 T-Town Representing
Long story short the tribe is the TRUTH! "IT'S JUICY"
Tribe Called Questa...one of my all time fave!
icedmocha110 2
By the way, my name's Malik the five foot freak, lets say we get together by the end of the week!
Check out Tribes special on cable directed by Michael Rapaport... Awesome
The tribe truly legendary
perryisham
One of tha Best Rap acts BAR NONE
formybrain
What's the deal yo???
Jalick. Jalick ya wind up ya hit.
tyroneturner 1 0 3
Bonita applebum put me on
ok came it 2 my own off this beat Here's to 1st times
You are ugley
Yo man
Wow
Hip hop meets Jazz! They pioneers! Shaheed was a beast in these tracks! Classic! One of my fav NY hip hop groups
Oh ya!! For sure. Peace
Heyyyy My Old School Throwback Jam Love This Cut A Tribe Called Quest Was The S**t Back In My Day Say What Shame We Don't Hear Music Like This Today Work It Out Pandora Hoooooo
See I'm far from a bully,but l ain't a punk
They blew me away with midnight marauders. Being from the deep south all my partners was like was this you bout to break yo neck to. Thank God for the tribe!
Back of the days on blvd of linden
A tribe called quest...one of the best !!
This is not fake apparently if you copy and past this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either be asked out or kissed if you break this chain you will see a little girl in your window tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will either say I love you or I'm sorry.
PHIFE DOG - My aura' s positive, I don't promote no junk

See I'm far from a bully, but I ain't a punk
I'm only 16 and find this music from the 80s and 90s full of substance and meaning. I really dislike today's "hip hop. " Honestly today's hip hop doesn't even deserve the name.
Runnin'(Phar c y d e ) . . . . . I always luv'd this track.....th a t ' s when hip hop was real.....thi s s**t they play today is not hip hop....makes me not wanna turn on the radio.....#B r i n g H i p H o p B a c k
SLICK "TIP" THE RULER...MAD NASTY!
It literally makes me sad what rap now a days came to :( follow
c1m2j4
Cool - forgot how much I liked them
Scenerio...a l w a y s gets me going!
Soundcloud.c o m / j o h n - b a s e m e n t got dat real hiphop!
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