March 20, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "The Low End Theory" (HHC, 12/91)

"In some ways, A Tribe Called Quest are more exciting than either the Jungle Brothers or De La. The quality and depth of Quest's rapping goes a lot further than anything on 'De La Is Dead' and the JB's career seems to have stalled somewhat. Indeed, rumors Warners US dropping the Brothers indicates the failure of rap in '91 to meet its previous success. To a large extent, hip-hop is going underground in the States - a fact that I, for one, welcome. If you need proof of rap's concern with its own survival then you should turn to "The Low End Theory." Without making a meal of it, Quest throw down some of the funkiest grooves I've heard all year and from the brilliantly executive one-two of the first cuts ('Excursions' and 'Buggin Out') right through the second side, Tribe come through with a no-frills rap album. This record isn't going to win them a massive pop audience - unless Jive go radically against their wishes with a radical remix - but Tribe have never been about that stuff anyway." Check the visuals to ATCQ's "Scenario," continued below...

"What The Low End Theory will do is re-establish their core rap audience and make the bond even stronger, proving that they're the foremost rhymers of the moment (to wit, "industry rule number four thousand and eighty / record company people are shadeeee"). The music is pretty much what you'd expect from a crew who make a lot of their jazz connections, but the dual execution of beat and rhyme makes for an album that will stand the test of time. A classic." - HHC (12/91)