Hip Hop was at a crossroads in 1993 and there were a few different ways to ….kick it. While the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop was in full swing there was one group in particular that managed to keep it’s clever rhymes and sick delivery just close enough within Hip Hop heads reach to keep the crowds running after them for more. A Tribe Called Quest: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (With Jarobi the “sometimes Y” in spirit) were that particular group and they owned that era .
It was 20 years ago today that Midnight Marauders, the third album from Hip Hop super group A Tribe Called Quest was released. The group stayed true to their previous form by taking their powerhouse emcees and having them rock over eclectic, jazzy, funky grooves which encompassed enough blending of old with current to take ATCQ into their own subgenera of both the music and the culture. All this was accomplished while simultaneously creating some of Hip Hop’s most iconic and quotable songs to date including; Award Tour, Lyrics To Go, Hot Sex, Ohh My God, And the ever misquoted Electric Relaxation just to name a few.
From day one of their first single dropping Hip Hop heads tried to find flaw with the Native kids…they didn’t like the way they dressed and thought all of their afro-centric embellishment wasn’t hard enough for them. But by the time Midnight Marauders found the light of day it was too late…too many heads had embraced or flat out fallen in love with the music and everyone at the very least had African medallions around their neck! Tribe won over the culture. They were the cats that guys wanted to be cool with and girls wanted to get with!
ATCQ was genuinely one of a kind and they made music that anyone could listen and relate to, so as their third album hit shelves, radio and Yo MTV Raps rotation they didn’t enter the charts…they exploded on to them! They had found their niche and exploited the entire hell out of their skill for making people want to join in the fun!
Whether it was listening to “Brand Nubian” go ballistic on “Scenario” or hearing Dove from De La Soul tell you about the “Award Tour” he was on with Muhammad his man…the features were heavy and were welcomed pieces to each song’s puzzle. The features themselves became just as iconic and quotable as the lyrics that members of Tribe spit. Therefore making the project just that more complete!
With Midnight Marauders Tribe had grown up and it was obvious their interests had grown with them. The audience was allowed to grow as well and with each song that was released a new dimension in the culture was created. They literally made levels to this thing.
So today we salute A Tribe Called Quest for giving us some of the most timeless music ever made and for allowing us to live vicariously through them.
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