A Tribe Called Quest – “The Low End Theory” review

Just a year after breaking onto the scene with People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm, Native Tongues subgroup A Tribe Called Quest are back with their sophomore effort & their 1st without Jarobi White. The track “Buggin’ Out” starts off with a funky bassline, but then some hard some hard boom bap drums come into the picture as well as some self-explanatory verses from Phife Dawg & Q-Tip. The track “Show Business” sees the group teaming up with Brand Nubian & Diamond D to discuss Industry Rule #4080 (which is explained on one of the later tracks “Check the Rhime”) over a vintage boom bap beat. The track “Vibes & Stuff” talks about the vibes they have & I really love how they chopped up 3 portions of “Down Here on the Ground” by Grant Green (especially the vibraphone part, which is just VERY creative). Now to go back to “Check the Rhime”, we get some jazzy horns during the hook as well as a funky bassline while Tip & Phife are basically displaying their lyrical abilities. I also think they display their chemistry on here as well because throughout the entire track, Tip & Phife go back & forth with each other & they do it PERFECTLY! The track “Jazz (We’ve Got)” has a flawlessly structured jazz sample packed beat & the group is talking about a wide number of things such as urban life as well as shouting out the Universal Zulu Nation & Pete Rock (who was actually the original producer of the track). The track “Skypager” has a smooth beat & lyrically, it’s a sincere ode to the now outdated pager. The album closes out with “Scenario”, where the Tribe teams up with the Leaders of the New School to give us one of the greatest posse cuts of all-time. Everyone stands out on their own on here, but it’s really the closing verse from Busta Rhymes that steals the entire show. While People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm is still a hip hop classic to this very day, the group broke the sophomore jinx & gave us their 1st of 2 masterpieces with this. The jazz/hip hop fusion is perfect & you can just tell the group was having a lot more fun making this one, especially in Tip & Phife’s deliveries

Score: 5/5

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