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Peoples' Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm

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Album Review

One year after De la Soul re-drew the map for alternative rap, fellow Native Tongues brothers A Tribe Called Quest released their debut, the quiet beginning of a revolution in non-commercial hip-hop. People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm floated a few familiar hooks, but it wasn't a sampladelic record. Rappers Q-Tip and Phife Dawg dropped a few clunky rhymes, but their lyrics were packed with ideas, while their flow and interplay were among the most original in hip-hop. From the beginning, Tribe focused on intelligent message tracks but rarely sounded over-serious about them. With "Pubic Enemy," they put a humorous spin on the touchy subject of venereal disease (including a special award for the most inventive use of the classic "scratchin'" sample), and moved right into a love rap, "Bonita Applebum," which alternated a sitar sample with the type of jazzy keys often heard on later Tribe tracks. "Description of a Fool" took to task those with violent tendencies, while "Youthful Expression" spoke wisely of the power yet growing responsibility of teenagers. Next to important message tracks with great productions, A Tribe Called Quest could also be deliciously playful (or frustratingly unserious, depending on your opinion). "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" describes a vacation gone hilariously wrong, while "Ham 'n' Eggs" may be the oddest topic for a rap track ever heard up to that point ("I don't eat no ham and eggs, cuz they're high in cholesterol"). Contrary to the message in the track titles, the opener "Push It Along" and "Rhythm (Dedicated to the Art of Moving Butts)" were fusions of atmospheric samples with tough beats, special attention being paid to a pair of later Tribe sample favorites, jazz guitar and '70s fusion synth. Restless and ceaselessly imaginative, Tribe perhaps experimented too much on their debut, but they succeeded at much of it, certainly enough to show much promise as a new decade dawned.

Customer Reviews

"Who got the vibe? It's the tribe ya'll"

Damn! why isn't hip hop like this anymore?
i was born in 94 I'm only 15, and I hate all this boojy rap that's out now. It's all about girls and money or how much drugs you got.
Jay-z recently said in his new song "death of autotune"
"I know were facin' a recession but the music ya'll makin gon make it the great depression" that line is mad true where is hip hop going? With all this wack music that's being made.


This was the beginning! Right here for all the Tribe fans then and now. A Tribe Called Quest made their debut with this classic album. While loved for its jazz, funk, and soul samples, this album was a masterpiece when it comes to blending genres of music together to form one cohesive bond. It was sampling at its peak. To blend songs from different artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Billy Brooks, Lou Reed, Roy Ayers, Jimmy Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The Chambers Brothers (to name a few), and make it a seamless flowing album is the work of true geniuses. Somehow, Tribe was able to find different parts of an eclectic mix of songs that somehow magically fit together as if they were long lost family members. And maybe they were, thus proving how modern music all comes from the same roots.

A True Hip-Hop Classic!!!!!

What can I say, this is an excellent album & A Tribe Called Quest's music is better than 99.9% of the hip-hop artists that are out today!!!!! YEAH I SAID IT!!!!!! If you're a TRUE fan then you should check out all of their albums & music videos.


Formed: 1988 in Queens, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest jump-started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore and gangsta rap. In essence, they abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks. The "sucka MC" theme had never been completely ignored in hip-hop, but Tribe confronted numerous black issues -- date rape, use of the word nigger, the trials and tribulations of...
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