52 IN 52

The 52 Albums that define my love for music

Album 24/Week 24

Who: A Tribe Called Quest - "The Low End Theory"

When: 1992

Why: The 2nd of the Big 3 in my hip-hop world that came from 1992.  I got this tape the day after I saw the "Scenario" video.  I begged my mom to take me to Record Exchange.  I didn't know anything else by Tribe either.  I remember the first time I sat in my room and listened to this.  Every song was so good. It was a mix of raw east coast hip-hop, jazz, and some of the popular dance-able hip-hop that was currently owning Pop radio.  There was a period of time, that for at least a month straight in the summer of '92 that everything was "butter" baby.  

Where:  Saw Tribe in '97 w/The Beastie Boys. I was in the front row.  Top 3 show of all time for me. Phife wasn't there, but Q-Tip, Jarobi and Ali still wrecked the place.

Top 5 hip-hop songs of all time?

If that video doesnt represent hip-hop in the early 90's, I dont know what does.  It introduced me to Busta, Leaders of the New School, Redman (who I actually saw live in '92 on accident with Kris Kross at the IX Indoor Amusement Park), DeLaSoul, Jungle Brothers, etc..    A Tribe Called Quest is/was/always will be one of the best hip-hop acts to ever come out.  Their records blended so well together, and you heard their process with every next record. They combined smart lyrics and beats, with Jazz and laid back tempos.   This record, between the people I know, is probably their most influential.  Tribe hit with this record, but their next record "Midnight Marauders" was their biggest commercial success (and quite possibly one of the best album covers of all time).

Tribe hit with me at a time when I was all over the place with hip-hop and really couldn't define what I liked the best.  Hip-Hop was starting to get very commercialized and infused with culture.  Dr.Dre had just released "The Chronic" and most eyes were on the left coast hip-hop, and while alot of those records were brilliant, the best hip-hop of the early 90's was coming from the East. A Tribe Called Quest was right at the forefront of the East Coast Hip Hop (Until Notorious B.I.G. hit in '94)

Tribe has stuck with me since '92.  I could put any of their albums on today and enjoy them just as I did back then, which I can't really say about any other Hip-Hop artist. "The Low End Theory" really kicked my exploration into Hip-Hop alot deeper, and I'm very glad that I can say that.  

So low key that ya probably missed it..