January 09, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "1nce Again" (The Source, 1996)

"Beats, Rhymes, and Life" was the fourth studio album from the Queens legends A Tribe Called Quest. It was released in 1996 by Jive Records; a long three years after the successful release of "Midnight Marauders" in 1993. My fondest memories from the album come not only in the dope hologram cover the CD was packaged in, but the lead single "1nce Again." The Source celebrated it, saying: "With the cyclical swirling of xylophones tickling coming off like tin pan drums and the airy-sweet vocal chiming of Tammy Lucas, it's a laudable feat for the Tribal Christening of the Ummah. But what marks the track as special is the ethereal endowment that runs through Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad's beats, rhymes and life." History might not remember this album in its proper context due to the loss of J Dilla, but there was a huge divide between fans that felt Tribe had abandoned their sound on "Midnight Marauders," and others who loved Tribe's new direction. The Source argued that "the thing that makes A Tribe Called Quest unequaled is the impossibility of pegging their unique qualifiers." What made Tribe great was that they were always growing and developing their sound. Yeah, maybe it was hit or miss for some, but surely we can agree they were always ahead of their time, and they provided the soundtrack to the better part of my life. Tribe music has always been there to link memories to music, which makes it timeless to me. I guess the only thing left to say is: I hope they can Find A Way to release new music!