“Get It Together” by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)

I’m pretty sure Q-Tip was the first featured rapper on a Beastie Boys track, and that’s gotta count for something. Even though I want to knock “Get It Together” down half a point for Tip’s repeated use of the word “nigga” on a track where the main artists are three white dudes, the song is… Read More “Get It Together” by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip (1994)

“Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

Hip-hop songs about sex and romance have become a bit more easy to take as the genre has matured (and its artists have matured along with it), but well into the ‘90s, hip-hop’s attempts to discuss love and its attendant relationships tended to go to one of two extremes. They were either extremely mushy (“I… Read More “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest (1993)

“Check The Rhime” by A Tribe Called Quest (1991)

1991’s “Check The Rhime” didn’t introduce a new A Tribe Called Quest so much as it introduced a refined A Tribe Called Quest that distinctly separated itself as a separate entity from the rest of the Native Tongues collective. The song’s sensibility–Tip and Phife’s approximation of an old-school routine, the neck-cracking boom-bap, the jazzy sensibility… Read More “Check The Rhime” by A Tribe Called Quest (1991)

“Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

The greatest call and response in hip-hop history. If someone asks you if they can kick it, and you say “no, you can’t”, then you’re an asshole. “Can I Kick It” was Tribe’s third single, and was the first to really stamp coolness on Q-Tip’s flow. “El Segundo” and “Bonita Applebum” were a nerdy kind of cool, but “Can… Read More “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

“Buggin’ Out” by A Tribe Called Quest (1991)

“Microphone check, 1-2. What is this?/The five foot assassin with the roughneck business/I I float like gravity, never had a cavity/Got more rhymes than the Winans got family” Those words boomed out of a PA system in Seattle on a mild Saturday in April 2016. I was attending PopCon, an annual gathering of music journalists… Read More “Buggin’ Out” by A Tribe Called Quest (1991)

“Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)” by De La Soul (feat. The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, Queen Latifah & Prince Paul) (1989)

De La Soul’s “Buddy” arrived mere months before A Tribe Called Quest changed the hip-hop love song paradigm with “Bonita Applebum”. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Q-Tip and co. were inspired to make “Bonita” because of “Buddy”. After all, Tip and Phife Dawg (marking his first appearance on record) are both featured… Read More “Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)” by De La Soul (feat. The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, Queen Latifah & Prince Paul) (1989)