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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 that many rappers had made a cottage industry by the late '80s. Comprising 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. They returned in 1996 with their fourth LP, Beats, Rhymes and Life, which prominently featured Q-Tip's nephew Consequence and production from Jay Dee (aka J Dilla). The album was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap Album category and reached platinum status.

Before they released their next album, 1998's The Love Movement, the group announced it would be their final album and that they were splitting up. Each member pursued solo careers to varying degrees of success, but the call of the band proved strong enough that they reunited many times over the years. They headlined the Rock the Bells concert in 2004, toured heavily in 2006, featured on the Rock the Bells tours of 2008 and 2010, and played a series of shows in 2013, including some with Kanye West in N.Y.C. Though at the time Q-Tip stated that this was the last time the group would play together, they reunited again in November of 2015 to play The Tonight Show in conjunction with the 25th anniversary reissue of People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Sadly, Tribe co-founder Phife -- suffering from diabetes for many years and the recipient of a liver transplant -- died in March of the following year at the age of 45. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Hits, Rarities & Remixes

1. Oh My God (Remix)

2. Award Tour

3. Can I Kick It?

4. One, Two, S**t (feat. Busta Rhymes)

5. Electric Relaxation

6. Mr. Incognito

7. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

8. Check The Rhime

9. Lyrics To Go (Tumblin' Dice Remix)

10. Scenario

11. Same Ol' Thing

12. Buggin' Out

13. Bonita Applebum

14. Jazz (We've Got)

15. Glamour & Glitz

16. Clap Your Hands

17. The Night He Got Caught

18. Peace, Prosperity & Paper

x

Track List: The Love Movement

1. Start It Up

2. Find A Way

3. Da Booty

4. Steppin' It Up

5. Like It Like That

6. Common Ground (Get It Goin' On)

7. 4 Moms

8. His Name Is Mutty Ranks

9. Give Me

10. Pad & Pen

11. Busta's Lament

12. Hot 4 U

13. Against The World

14. The Love

15. Rock Rock Y'all

16. Scenerio (Remix)

17. Money Maker

18. Hot Sex

19. Oh My God (Remix)

20. Jazz (We've Got)

21. One Two S**t

x

Track List: Beats, Rhymes and Life

1. Phony Rappers

2. Get A Hold

3. Motivators

4. Jam

5. Crew

6. The Pressure

7. 1nce Again

8. Mind Power

9. The Hop

10. Keeping It Moving

11. Baby Phife's Return

12. Separate / Together

13. What Really Goes On

14. Word Play

15. Stressed Out

x

Track List: Midnight Marauders

1. Midnight Marauders Tour Guide

2. Steve Biko (Stir It Up)

3. Award Tour

4. 8 Million Stories

5. Sucka N**ga

6. Midnight

7. We Can Get Down

8. Electric Relaxation

9. Clap Your Hands

10. Oh My God

11. Keep It Rollin'

12. The Chase, Part II

13. Lyrics To Go

14. God Lives Through

x

Track List: The Low End Theory

1. Excursions

2. Buggin' Out

3. Rap Promoter

4. Butter

5. Verses From The Abstract

6. Showbusiness

7. Vibes And Stuff

8. The Infamous Date Rape

9. Check The Rhime

10. Everything Is Fair

11. Jazz (We've Got) (Re-Recording)

12. Skypager

13. What?

14. Scenario

x

Track List: People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm

1. Push It Along

2. Luck Of Lucien

3. After Hours

4. Footprints

5. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

6. Public Enemy

7. Bonita Applebum

8. Can I Kick It?

9. Youthful Expression

10. Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)

11. Mr. Muhammad

12. Ham 'n' Eggs

13. Go Ahead In The Rain

14. Description Of A Fool

x

Track List: People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition)

1. Push It Along

2. Luck Of Lucien

3. After Hours

4. Footprints

5. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

6. Pubic Enemy

7. Bonita Applebum

8. Can I Kick It?

9. Youthful Expression

10. Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)

11. Mr. Muhammad

12. Ham 'N' Eggs

13. Go Ahead In The Rain

14. Description Of A Fool

15. Footprints (Feat. CeeLo Green) (Remix)

16. Bonita Applebum (Pharrell Williams Remix)

17. Can I Kick It? (J. Cole Remix)

Comments

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One of my favorite rap groups
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Whomever done this writeup did a great job
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Phife for life!! Rest in Peace & Love Brother!!
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��
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They call me DR PEPPER !!!!!!!!!
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dionie300
One of the best trio's in the rap game. The 5' Footer will truly be missed.
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bward6897
classic, real music
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Classic A Tribe Called Quest hit, Phife You are truly missed The 5FT Assassin
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RIP Phife!
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RIP Phife :(
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RIP Phife. You'll always be with us through your music.
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Rip to the funky diabetic
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RIP 2 Phife and i STILL love his lyrical flow. I still love tribe called quest.
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R.I.P the 5 footer. (Phife)
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Whoever wrote this article was really Misinformed! A Tribe Called Quest was here long before De La Soul They are both in the native tongue family crew but, tribe was here first! Get your facts straight before you try to spread knowledge on black music culture!
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parisclarke
RIP Phife
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I got mad love for this group and what they stood for and how their music shaped or challenged ppls ideas and beliefs... Mad love and respect... RIP Phife Dog...You may be gone but your legacy lives on!!..(WAKE UP BLACK PPL DIABETES IS A ISSUE THAT AFFECTS US AT OUR CORE..You got to know your families health history and try too both eat right and exercise)
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Feelin so damn good!!! Jamming my a** off��
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I'm callin out to all mah ladies!!!
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Say iPhone 5 times
Pick a color
Post this on 5other songs
Look under your pillow
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rip i love the music
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Phife will be missed ���������� #ATCQFOREVER
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How can you write a bio on Tribe and not mention Jarobi?...wh o m Tip said the documentary was the life blood of the group.
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Its like butta baby!!
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flykid1987
This has always been one of my favorite song's RIP Phife so sad
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Don't read this you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life tomorrow will be the best day of your life now that you have read this don't stop if you ignore it you will have bad luck post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes when you are done press the space bar button and your crushes name will appear in big letters on your screen
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RIP Phife, you changed my life
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The Five Foot Assassin wit da roughneck bizness! RIP Phife, you will be greatly missed
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Rip Phife! sick skills
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RIP to the 5 ft freak
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You on point Phife!!
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This sound and especially this group was the soundtrack of my youth. 10th grade till i was 30 I lived a Tribe Life
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This sound and especially this group guided my life. MUCH RESPECT
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Tribe motivated many youth really speechless bcuz they are hip hop really informed my 3rd Eye with some serious jewels 1 of the Best to Ever do it.......... . . . R.I.P. 5footer.
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One of the BEST Hip hop/rap group ever!!!! Long Live the 5 footer in our memories!!!
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Truly the soundtrack to my Village days! RIP I'll never forget! Clever rhymers are far and few and phife made us all go ooooh
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Rip Phife. AKA Malik The Five Foot Freak.
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orangecrush_ 2 0
I'm a old g from the 80's and I just wanted to give a shout out to phif dawg..RIP homie, you will be definitely missed...bee n rockin the tribe this pass week with with phif passing away...much love to those guys for they will always be in my ear hole...
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Rip
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jneyde
Im so sorry his health failed on him. A really nice person.
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The best. RIP Phife...
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RIP Phife
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What? is Tribe without Phife, nothin
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Rip to the funky diabetic
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RIP PHIFE DAWG!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! So happy to have known of his awesome a** rhymes! & blessed to know this music!
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chaun713
RIP Phife Dawg.
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liulem
Phife dawg is surely making rhymes in the ski
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This station is amazing!!! Thank you phife for helping craft this genre of jazzy hip hop
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R.I.P Phife Dawg...
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anthony817
Phife and ATCQ forever!
Show more

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