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Midnight Marauders

A Tribe Called Quest

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Album Review

Though the abstract rappers finally betrayed a few commercial ambitions for Midnight Marauders, the happy result was a smart, hooky record that may not have furthered the jazz-rap fusions of The Low End Theory, but did merge Tribe-style intelligence and reflection with some of the most inviting grooves heard on any early-'90s rap record. The productions, more funky than jazzy, were tighter overall — but the big improvement, four years after their debut, came with Q-Tip's and Phife Dawg's raps. Focused yet funky, polished but raw, the duo was practically telepathic on "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" and "The Chase, Pt. 2," though the mammoth track here was the pop hit "Award Tour." A worldwide call-out record with a killer riff and a great pair of individual raps from the pair, it assured that Midnight Marauders would become A Tribe Called Quest's biggest seller. The album didn't feature as many topical tracks as Tribe was known for, though the group did include an excellent, sympathetic commentary on the question of that word ("Sucka N***a," with a key phrase: "being as we use it as a term of endearment"). Most of the time, A Tribe Called Quest was indulging in impeccably produced, next-generation games of the dozens ("We Can Get Down," "Oh My God," "Lyrics to Go"), but also took the time to illustrate sensitivity and spirituality ("God Lives Through"). A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders was commercially successful, artistically adept, and lyrically inventive; the album cemented their status as alternative rap's prime sound merchants, authors of the most original style since the Bomb Squad first exploded on wax.

Customer Reviews

just awesome

A Tribe Called Quest does hip-hop the right way. The beat in Sucka N***a was taken from a jazz song called Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard. I'm a sax player, and I love how they take jazz and make it into hip-hop. Right on.

True Hip Hop right here!

This album is amazing, my favorite from the group. Every single song has something special about it which makes the album great to listen straight through. It is a shame this kind of rap isn't going on today.

One of the Most Influential Albums in Hip Hop History...

...this album will go down in the books as one that forced the music to change direction. From production to rhymes, the album has no flaws. Award Tour was one of the most popular singles of the later half of the decade due to its infectious melody and the voice of a member of De La Soul on the hook. Sucka N***a started conversations throughout the ghettos of the country about the use of the N word and what it really stood for. Electric Relaxation was the sexiest hip hop track recorded at that time, with a bass guitar beat that was stuck in your head for days. Again, not enough can be said about ATCQ's Midnight Marauders. It is a classic.


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 n****r, the trials and tribulations...
Full Bio

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