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A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes & Life

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Beats, Rhymes & Life

A Tribe Called Quest

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With each of its first three albums, A Tribe Called Quest seemed to be on its way to bigger and better things, artistically and commercially. Beats, Rhymes and Life promptly ended that streak and still ranks as the group's most disappointing listen. Amplifying the bare beats-and-bliss of The Low End Theory but erasing the hooks of Midnight Marauders, Beats, Rhymes and Life simply wasn't a compelling record. In fact, A Tribe Called Quest sounded bored through most of it -- and, to put it bluntly, there wasn't much to get excited about either. Previously so invigorating and idea-driven, Q-Tip and Phife strutted through their verses, often sounding confused, hostile, and occasionally paranoid (check out the battle tracks, "Phony Rappers" and "Mind Power"). Meanwhile, the skeletal productions offered little incentive to decode the lyrics and messages, most of which were complex as expected. Though several other tracks had solid productions (like the spry, bass-driven backing to "Phony Rappers"), Beats, Rhymes and Life saw A Tribe Called Quest making its first (and only) significant misstep. (Constant touring off the success of Midnight Marauders may have been a factor.) Yes, they were still much better than the vast majority of alternative rappers, but it seemed they'd lost their power to excite. One of the few successes was a surprising R&B crossover called "1nce Again" (featuring Tammy Lucas).
© John Bush /TiVo

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Beats, Rhymes & Life

A Tribe Called Quest

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1
Phony Rappers
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:36

The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - D. Mills, Composer - D. Mills, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

2
Get A Hold
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:35

J. Yancey, Lyricist - J. Yancey, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

3
Motivators
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:20

A. Muhammad, Lyricist - A. Muhammad, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - D. Mills, Composer - D. Mills, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

4
The Jam
A Tribe Called Quest
00:04:38

A. Muhammad, Lyricist - A. Muhammad, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Composer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - D. Mills, Lyricist - D. Mills, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

5
Crew
A Tribe Called Quest
00:01:58

A. Muhammad, Lyricist - A. Muhammad, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

6
The Pressure
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:02

A. Muhammad, Lyricist - A. Muhammad, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

7
1nce Again (Radio Version)
A Tribe Called Quest featuring Tammy Lucas
00:03:49

A. Muhammad, Composer - A. Muhammad, Lyricist - J. Yancey, Composer - J. Yancey, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest featuring Tammy Lucas, Performer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer

(P) 1996 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Mind Power
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:55

A. Muhammad, Lyricist - A. Muhammad, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Composer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - D. Mills, Lyricist - D. Mills, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

9
The Hop
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:27

Rex Smith, Lyricist - Rex Smith, Composer - Rashad Smith, Producer - M. Taylor, Composer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Keeping It Moving
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:38

Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Malik Taylor, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - James Yancey, Lyricist - James Yancey, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - D. Mills, Lyricist - D. Mills, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

11
Baby Phife's Return
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:18

The Ummah, Producer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

12
Separate/Together
A Tribe Called Quest
00:01:38

The Ummah, Producer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

13
What Really Goes On
A Tribe Called Quest
00:03:23

A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - R. Middlebrooks, Composer - R. Middlebrooks, Lyricist - M. Pierce, Composer - M. Pierce, Lyricist - Mick Jones, Lyricist - Mick Jones, Composer - Gregory A. Webster, Composer - Gregory A. Webster, Lyricist - W. Morrison, Composer - W. Morrison, Lyricist - A. Noland, Lyricist - A. Noland, Composer - The Ummah, Producer - N. Napier, Composer - N. Napier, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Leroy Bonner, Composer - Leroy Bonner, Lyricist

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

14
Word Play
A Tribe Called Quest
00:02:59

The Ummah, Producer - J. Yancey, Lyricist - J. Yancey, Composer - M. Taylor, Lyricist - M. Taylor, Composer - D. Mills, Composer - D. Mills, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

15
Stressed Out (LP Version)
A Tribe Called Quest featuring Faith Evans
00:04:58

Brad Kopplin, Engineer - Daniel Wierup, Engineer - Charles McCrorey, Engineer - Martin Czembor, Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Dexter Mills, Lyricist - Dexter Mills, Composer - The Ummah, Mixing Engineer - The Ummah, Producer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - A Tribe Called Quest featuring Faith Evans, Performer - Gary Taylor, Composer - Gary Taylor, Lyricist - Consequence, Vocal - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer

(P) 1996 Zomba Recording LLC

Album Description

With each of its first three albums, A Tribe Called Quest seemed to be on its way to bigger and better things, artistically and commercially. Beats, Rhymes and Life promptly ended that streak and still ranks as the group's most disappointing listen. Amplifying the bare beats-and-bliss of The Low End Theory but erasing the hooks of Midnight Marauders, Beats, Rhymes and Life simply wasn't a compelling record. In fact, A Tribe Called Quest sounded bored through most of it -- and, to put it bluntly, there wasn't much to get excited about either. Previously so invigorating and idea-driven, Q-Tip and Phife strutted through their verses, often sounding confused, hostile, and occasionally paranoid (check out the battle tracks, "Phony Rappers" and "Mind Power"). Meanwhile, the skeletal productions offered little incentive to decode the lyrics and messages, most of which were complex as expected. Though several other tracks had solid productions (like the spry, bass-driven backing to "Phony Rappers"), Beats, Rhymes and Life saw A Tribe Called Quest making its first (and only) significant misstep. (Constant touring off the success of Midnight Marauders may have been a factor.) Yes, they were still much better than the vast majority of alternative rappers, but it seemed they'd lost their power to excite. One of the few successes was a surprising R&B crossover called "1nce Again" (featuring Tammy Lucas).
© John Bush /TiVo

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