“Hot Sex” by A Tribe Called Quest (1992)

“Hot Sex” isn’t one of the more thoughtfully constructed Tribe songs. The track didn’t even make it to an official Tribe album-it appeared on the soundtrack to the 1992 Eddie Murphy/Halle Berry flick Boomerang (without even appearing in the movie! I wonder what that was about!)

The song’s somewhat tossed-off nature, though, is what I find really appealing. The beat is simple, but it knocks. The title (and chorus of “hot sex on a platter” repeated ad nauseum) has nothing to do with the song’s lyrics, but it’s memorable. Sonically, “Hot Sex” splits the difference between the two ATCQ albums it sits between, The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. It’s a bit too polished for the former album, a bit to rugged for the latter work. Although when talking about two of the best albums of the ’90s (and two of the best hip-hop albums in history, I’m obviously not criticizing at all.

What really does it for me as far as “Hot Sex” is Phife Dawg’s verse. The 5-foot assassin had a way with a lyric, and his super-excitable first verse lays the groundwork for Q-Tip’s mellower second (yes, folks, the song’s only two quick verses). Phife drops zinger after zinger, closing his 16 bars with a full-on Trini-accented THE ACTION GUH STAAAAAAAAAAHT. It’s hilarious and amazing and encapsulates all the reasons I loved that dude.

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