Classic Review : The Low End Theory in The Source (1991)

Review of Tribe’s 5 mic classic in The Source, november 1991, written by Reef.

A Tribe Called Quest : Scenario feat LONS, Black Sheep & De La Soul (demo) (DivShare)

“What do you do for an encore after making one of the most ground-breaking unique and outstanding hip-hop albums ever ? Instead of moving ahead to an uncharted musical plateau that may be over everyone’s head, the Tribe have veered off to the side, molding their jazz-infused samples with fat hardcore beats to give their progressive sound a streetwise edge.

The most prevalent theme on this record is the Tribe’s disillusionment with the music industry. Song topics address shady promoters, bootleggers and the greedy, insensitive record labels that rip-off artists. Meanwhile Tip and Ali drop some more fat loops from their secret sample vaults. The tracks are kept simple and feature the type of fat drum beats that can be heard from a boomin’ system three blocks
away. Instead of just throwing a beat over a loop, the Tribe combine distinct pieces of music, program their own beats, and transform their samples into a sound that is truly their own. They add the right touch-whether its a live bass with singing on Q-Tip’s “Verse From Abstract,” or the jazzy sax loop on Phife’s” Butter.”

Q-Tip has already proven he is a highly skilled lyricist with his own distinct style and once again he flows lovely, dubbing himself “the abstract poet.” Those who questioned Phife’s microphone techniques on the first album will swallow those doubts as he practically steals the show on this one. Phife provides a more straight-up b-boy approach to complement Tip’s mellow vibes.

Other outstanding cuts include “Buggin’ Out”, an uptempo jam with a catchy bassline, “Rap Promoter” with its chunky guitar samples, “ShowBiz”, featuring Brand Nubian’s Lord Jammar and Sadat X and ex-Ultimate Force member Diamond D, and “Scenario” a duet with the Leaders Of The New School that feature some incredible lyrics from Busta Bhymes. There’s no sophomore jinx to be found here only real hip-hop.”


7 Responses to Classic Review : The Low End Theory in The Source (1991)

  1. 631OPER says:

    20 years ago today. Incredible. Still sounds boss and continues to dwell in my all-time top 3 albums.

  2. me says:

    Toujours un plaisir de découvrir ces articles longtemps après !

  3. Nickey Black says:

    I love all 3..The last 2 are not really that memorable (Beats & Love Movement)

    But Tribe is my 2nd all time favorite group.

  4. kunle busari says:

    ATCQ is a rap group for the intellectual on the street, schools, mosque and churches. Make you realise the organic state of mind that germinate flourish and give shade to sojourner truths in this our time. Scripture and thesis are writeen in this kind of mind state. When future generations are making a dissertation of our generation ATCQ album would be one of the few source materials HipHop community will be proud to use as source material.

  5. Freddom Mentor reviews

    Classic Review : The Low End Theory in The Source (1991) | Press Rewind If I Haven’t…

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