Free to ill

Tribe blog 4-15-17

I’m currently scaling a mountain of paperwork while listening to this new Tribe Called Quest.  It’s now a couple of months after the hype has worn off and guess what? IT IS STILL a GREAT album! Sonically, it is progressive, innovative, and yet reminiscent of their classic sound.

I haven’t replayed and quoted an album this much in a long time. I even found myself learning the name of songs, which is a lost art with soooo much music available. I typically be like – yeah you know…track 1, 7, 15, etc.

It also felt good to see them catch a Billboard spot after all these years and send Phife (R.I.P) out in glorious fashion! As a hip-hop head, I am forever indebted to their creativity and will continue to say, “Thank you, A Tribe Called Quest! You helped energize and inspire my life for the better!”

In honor of their new release on throwback Thursday, I decided to unveil my top five all time

(drum roll please)…

BEST of A Tribe Called Quest Moments                                       

#5 – (2016) I downloaded the new album as I drank my coffee before work and everything went black. By the time I came to, I was in my car on highway 285 banging on the windows and swerving (sorry, Mama). I began to throw up my hands and bob my head while pointing at people like, “I GOT THAT SHIT!!!”

#4 – (1990) I ordered the very first Tribe album through BMG’s infamous 12 CDs-for-a-penny-hustle and discovered a gem. I had no expectations. But after “Push it Along,” I was looking around the room in my best crackhead voice, like, “Hold up! This crazy-ass, hippy-looking group has music this good?! I done came up!”

#3 – (1991) My brother’s friend gave me Low End Theory to dub while they went to the mall. I swear I listened to “Buggin’ Out” 10 times in a row and “Butter” was right on time for a decision I had to make about a girl. This album also helped me to truly appreciate jazz music, which I used to kind of suck my teeth at. Man, “Scenario” was so damn good, I walked to my homeboy’s house in the cold just so he could hear it. It was that “SEER-ROUS!”

#2 – (1993) I bumped into the big homey Glenn Grant walking down the street after the release of Midnight Marauders. He asked, “Dee, you heard that new Tribe?” Once he played “Award Tour,” I immediately hit an about face and caught the bus to Turtles Record Store. The album cover alone made me feel like I was connected to something larger than life. Everybody who was somebody to me was on that cover.  Not to mention that every track was damn near flawless. The ride back was BEE-NANAS!!! “Steve Biko,” “Sucka Nigga,” “Keep it Rollin,” “Electric Relaxation!” Whew!!! Not only was the music good, but the philosophies infused in their rhymes helped me mature and understand the world.

#1 – (1992) In the midst of everybody and they momma bumpin’ Poisonous Mentality by Poison Clan—which I grew to love—a guy named James came in the record store I worked at and asked if we heard the remix for “Scenario.” Everybody stopped and said all at once, like we hit the lottery, “Remix?!”    

He looked around like he had something illegal in his pocket and said, “Come outside. Y’all gotta’ hear it.” It was about 5 of us on the corner of Waters and Maupas in Savannah, GA, jumping up and down while damn near stopping traffic! That image and freeness we had will always be in my mind:
 “Hood-madman, I rip up stages / lay down your wages / I’m wild like Larry Davis.”

Life was fun! Moments like these made me want to be an artist and dare to be different.                      

Again, THANK YOU, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST! #salute #hiphophead #ripphifeandhood #flictedthebookcomingsoon