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Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 46


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A Tribe Called Quest - The Anthology proves why its music lives on

By Keenan Singleton
Daily Cougar Staff 


A Tribe Called Quest-The Anthology

A Tribe Called Quest
Zomba/Jive
19 tracks, 75 min.

Grade: A


Amid the rapidly changing landscape of music during the late '80s and early '90s, a little rap group in Queens changed the face of hip hop with jazzy samples and old school beats.

Pushing positivity, the group, remarkably, succeeded among the darker flavor of Public Enemy and N.W.A.

The three core members of the group -- enigmatic leader Q-tip a.k.a the "Abstract" poet, Phife a.k.a the Five Foot Freak, and the silent DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad -- along with cohorts, rap group De La Soul, forged a niche with a hip-hop/jazz genre that had never been successfully done.

A Tribe Called Quest -- The Anthology features songs that make you ponder life, and at the same time make you dance until three in the morning.

The album features five tracks from the group's debut recording, the fresh, revolutionary People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

The oft-sampled Bonita Applebum is arguably ATCQ's most recognizable song. The laid-back tribute to bonita (pretty) women isn't known for it's lyrical content, but nonetheless it is a classic.

The scratch-heavy, chanting simplicity of "Can I Kick It?," "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo" (possibly hip-hop's weirdest title), the uptempo "Luck of Lucien" and battle-ready "Description of a Fool" grace the CD.

Paired with preeminent jazz bassist Ron Carter, the group created the "Scenario," off The Low End Theory, a party anthem that featured the talents of the Leaders of the New School, Charlie Brown, Dinco D and superstar-in-training, Busta Rhymes.

Other songs that made the anthology from Low are "Check the Rhime," the bass heavy "Buggin' Out" and "Jazz (We've Got)," which is sampled from the jazz standard, "On Green Dolphin Street."

One of hip hop's greatest contributions to music is the unequaled sheer beauty of "Electric Relaxation."

"Award Tour" catapulted the group to stardom with a renowned sample and shouts out to respective cities (including Houston).

After such a groundswell of success, the group released the forgettable, below-par Beats, Rhymes, Life, and many believed the quest was over for the group. But in 1998 they released the underappreciated The Love Movement. The album spawned the single, "Find A Way" which had a less jazzy, more contemporary sound than diehards were used to.

Unfortunately, this would be the final installment from Tribe, as creative differences tore the group asunder.

Q-Tip's solo joint, the MTV darling, "Vivrant Thing" which appears on the album, is rumored to be the new direction that the "Abstract" is perusing.

This album would have received an A + had it not been for the glaring exclusion of "Lyrics To Go," a song that should be included in an anthology of ATCQ's storied career.

Tribe's influence can be still be heard today in groups like the Roots, and in this final set, fans have something they can embrace as a powerful and influential collection of tracks from one of the greatest hip hop groups of all time. 


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