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Beats, Rhymes & Life

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Album Review

With their fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life, A Tribe Called Quest manages to be one of the few hip-hop acts to successfully age by pushing both their music and their lyrics into new directions. Stylistically, the record is closest to its immediate predecessor, Midnight Marauders, in the sense that the group's jazz-rap fusion are downplayed and the beat stays surprisingly hard throughout the album. What distinguishes Beats, Rhymes and Life from Marauders is a deeper sense not only of eclectism, but of spirituality and maturity. Shortly before the album was written and recorded, Q-Tip converted to Islam and the religion's ideals are an undercurrent in nearly every track on the album. But what really stands out is Tip's unease with the transience of the youth-oriented hip-hop scene and his own urges to settle down. Unlike most rappers, he confronts these feelings in the music, by writing lyrics and helping to create music that illustrates the contradictions of growing old with hip-hop. And by tackling the issue head-on, A Tribe Called Quest sound fresh and suggest that it is possible to sustain a career in rap as you approach a full decade of recording, after all.

Customer Reviews

listened to it every day on repeat

The Summer this Album came out I listened to it every day on repeat out in the backyard all Summer long

Amazing...

This is one of my favorite albums of all time, and the perfect album to kick back and chill to. I like all of Tribe's work, but this is and MIdnight Marauders are my favorites. Every beat and hook is sick and Q-Tip and Phife are still on top of their game lyrically. Anyone who even remotely likes hip hop needs to own this album, period.

a tribe called quest is the best

jazz hip hop is my favorite kind of rap

Biography

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