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A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory

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The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest

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While most of the players in the jazz-rap movement never quite escaped the pasted-on qualities of their vintage samples, with The Low End Theory, A Tribe Called Quest created one of the closest and most brilliant fusions of jazz atmosphere and hip-hop attitude ever recorded. The rapping by Q-Tip and Phife Dawg could be the smoothest of any rap record ever heard; the pair are so in tune with each other, they sound like flip sides of the same personality, fluidly trading off on rhymes, with the former earning his nickname (the Abstract) and Phife concerning himself with the more concrete issues of being young, gifted, and black. The trio also takes on the rap game with a pair of hard-hitting tracks: "Rap Promoter" and "Show Business," the latter a lyrical soundclash with Q-Tip and Phife plus Brand Nubian's Diamond D, Lord Jamar, and Sadat X. The woman problem gets investigated as well, on two realistic yet sensitive tracks, "Butter" and "The Infamous Date Rape." The productions behind these tracks aren't quite skeletal, but they're certainly not complex. Instead, Tribe weaves little more than a stand-up bass (sampled or, on one track, jazz luminary Ron Carter) and crisp, live-sounding drum programs with a few deftly placed samples or electric keyboards. It's a tribute to their unerring production sense that, with just those few tools, Tribe produced one of the best hip-hop albums in history, a record that sounds better with each listen. The Low End Theory is an unqualified success, the perfect marriage of intelligent, flowing raps to nuanced, groove-centered productions.
© John Bush /TiVo

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The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest

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1
Excursions
00:03:54

Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Buggin' Out
00:03:37

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Rap Promoter
00:02:13

Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Butter
00:03:38

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Verses from the Abstract
00:03:58

Ron Carter, Bass - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ms. Vinia, Vocal - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Show Business
00:03:53

Skeff Anselm, Producer - Skeff Anselm, Composer - Skeff Anselm, Lyricist - Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - D. Murphy, Composer - D. Murphy, Lyricist - Joe Kirkland, Composer - Joe Kirkland, Lyricist - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - L. Dechalus, Composer - L. Dechalus, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Co-Producer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Vibes and Stuff
00:04:17

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Infamous Date Rape
00:02:53

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Check the Rhime
00:03:36

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Everything Is Fair
00:02:58

Skeff Anselm, Composer - Skeff Anselm, Lyricist - Skeff Anselm, Producer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Co-Producer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Jazz (We've Got)
00:04:10

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Skypager
00:02:12

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

13
What?
00:02:28

Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

14
Scenario LP Mix
00:04:10

Malik Taylor, Composer - Malik Taylor, Lyricist - James Jackson, Composer - James Jackson, Lyricist - Bob Power, Recording Engineer - Bob Power, Mixing Engineer - Trevor Smith, Composer - Trevor Smith, Lyricist - Brian Higgins, Composer - Brian Higgins, Lyricist - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Composer - Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Lyricist - Kamaal Fareed, Composer - Kamaal Fareed, Lyricist - A Tribe Called Quest, Performer - A Tribe Called Quest, Producer - A Tribe Called Quest, Arranger - A Tribe Called Quest, Recording Engineer - A Tribe Called Quest, Mixing Engineer

(P) 1991 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

While most of the players in the jazz-rap movement never quite escaped the pasted-on qualities of their vintage samples, with The Low End Theory, A Tribe Called Quest created one of the closest and most brilliant fusions of jazz atmosphere and hip-hop attitude ever recorded. The rapping by Q-Tip and Phife Dawg could be the smoothest of any rap record ever heard; the pair are so in tune with each other, they sound like flip sides of the same personality, fluidly trading off on rhymes, with the former earning his nickname (the Abstract) and Phife concerning himself with the more concrete issues of being young, gifted, and black. The trio also takes on the rap game with a pair of hard-hitting tracks: "Rap Promoter" and "Show Business," the latter a lyrical soundclash with Q-Tip and Phife plus Brand Nubian's Diamond D, Lord Jamar, and Sadat X. The woman problem gets investigated as well, on two realistic yet sensitive tracks, "Butter" and "The Infamous Date Rape." The productions behind these tracks aren't quite skeletal, but they're certainly not complex. Instead, Tribe weaves little more than a stand-up bass (sampled or, on one track, jazz luminary Ron Carter) and crisp, live-sounding drum programs with a few deftly placed samples or electric keyboards. It's a tribute to their unerring production sense that, with just those few tools, Tribe produced one of the best hip-hop albums in history, a record that sounds better with each listen. The Low End Theory is an unqualified success, the perfect marriage of intelligent, flowing raps to nuanced, groove-centered productions.
© John Bush /TiVo

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