Tagged with "corner"
IN THIS MONTH'S LEGENDARY CORNER WE'RE HONORED TO PRESENT EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE Tags: earth wind fire legendary corner word life production feature

During the 1970s, a new brand of pop music was born - one that was steeped in African and African-American styles - particularly jazz and R&B but appealed to a broader cross-section of the listening public. As founder and leader of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White not only embraced but also helped bring about this evolution of pop, which bridged the gap that has often separated the musical tastes of black and white America. It certainly was successful, as EWF combined high-caliber musicianship, wide-ranging musical genre eclecticism, and '70s multicultural spiritualism. "I wanted to do something that hadn't been done before," Maurice explains. "Although we were basically jazz musicians, we played soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music...which somehow ended up becoming pop. We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners' spiritual content."

Maurice was born December 19, 1941, in Memphis, TN. He was immersed in a rich musical culture that spanned the boundaries between jazz, gospel, R&B, blues and early rock. All of these styles played a role in the development of Maurice's musical identity. At age six, he began singing in his church's gospel choir but soon his interest turned to percussion. He began working gigs as a drummer while still in high school. His first professional performance was with Booker T. Jones, who eventually achieved stardom as Booker T and the MGs.

After graduating high school, Maurice moved to the Windy City to continue his musical education at the prestigious Chicago Conservatory Of Music. He continued picking up drumming jobs on the side, which eventually lead to a steady spot as a studio percussionist with the legendary Chicago label, Chess Records. At Chess, Maurice had the privilege of playing with such greats as Etta James, Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Willie Dixon, Sonny Stitt and Ramsey Lewis, whose trio he joined in 1967. He spent nearly three years as part of the Ramsey Lewis Trio. "Ramsey helped shape my musical vision beyond just the music," Maurice explains. "I learned about performance and staging." Maurice also learned about the African thumb piano, or Kalimba, an instrument whose sound would become central to much of his work over the years.

In 1969, Maurice left the Ramsey Lewis Trio and joined two friends in Chicago, Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead, as a songwriting team composing songs and commercials in the Chicago area. The three friends got a recording contract with Capitol and called themselves the "Salty Peppers," and had a marginal hit in the Mid-western area called "La La Time." That band featured Maurice on vocals, percussion and Kalimba along with keyboardists/vocalists Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead.

After relocating to Los Angeles and signing a new contract with Warner Bros., Maurice simultaneously made what may have been the smartest move of his young career. He changed the band's name to Earth, Wind & Fire (after the three elements in his astrological chart). The new name also captured Maurice's spiritual approach to music - one that transcended categories and appealed to multiple artistic principals, including composition, musicianship, production, and performance. In addition to White, Flemons and Whitehead, Maurice recruited Michael Beal on guitar, Leslie Drayton, Chester Washington and Alex Thomas on horns, Sherry Scott on vocals, percussionist Phillard Williams and his younger brother Verdine on bass.

Earth, Wind & Fire recorded two albums for Warner Brothers: the self-titled 1970 album Earth, Wind And Fire and the 1971 album The Need Of Love. A single from this album, "I Think About Lovin' You," provided EWF with their first Top 40 R&B hit. Also in 1971, the group performed the soundtrack to the Melvin Van Peebles film 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song'.

In 1972, White dissolved the line-up (except he and brother Verdine White) and added Jessica Cleaves (vocals - formerly of the R&B group The Friends of Distinction), Ronnie Laws (flute, saxophone), Roland Bautista (guitar), Larry Dunn (keyboard), Ralph Johnson (percussion) and Philip Bailey (vocals, formerly of Friends & Love). Maurice became disillusioned with Warner Brothers, which had signed the group primarily as a jazz act. Maurice, in contrast, was more interested in combining elements of jazz, rock, and soul into an evolving form of fusion, a truly universal sound.

A performance at New York's Rockefeller Center introduced EWF to Clive Davis, then President of Columbia Records. Davis loved what he saw and bought their contract from Warner Bros. With Columbia Records, debuting with the 1972 album Last Days And Time, the group slowly began to build a reputation for innovative recordings and exciting, live shows, complete with feats of magic (floating pianos, spinning drum kits, vanishing artists) engineered by Doug Henning and his then-unknown assistant David Copperfield. Their first gold album, Head To The Sky, peaked at number 27 pop in the summer of 1973, yielding a smooth tangy cover of "Evil" and the title track single. The first platinum EWF album, Open Our Eyes, whose title track was a remake of the classic originally recorded by Savoy Records group the Gospel Clefs, included "Mighty Mighty" (number four R&B) and "Kalimba Story" (number six R&B).

Maurice once again shared a label roster with Ramsey Lewis, whose Columbia debut Sun Goddess, was issued in December 1974. The radio-aired title track was released as a single under the name Ramsey Lewis and Earth, Wind & Fire. It went to number 20 R&B in early 1975. The Sun Goddess album went gold, hitting number 12 pop in early 1975. Maurice had also played on Lewis' other high-charting album, Wade in the Water; the title track single peaked at number three R&B in the summer of 1966.

The inspiration for "Shining Star" (one of EW&F's most beloved singles) was gleaned from thoughts Maurice had during a walk under the star-filled skies that surrounded the mountains around Caribou Ranch, CO a popular recording site and retreat during the '70s. The track was originally included in the 'That's The Way of the World' movie that starred Harvey Keitel and was produced by Sig Shore (Superfly). "Shining Star" glittered at number one R&B for two weeks and hit number one pop in early 1975. It was included on their 1975 multi-platinum album That's The Way Of The World that held the number one pop spot for three weeks in Spring 1975 and earned them their first Grammy Award. The title track single made it to number five R&B in summer of 1975. It also yielded the classic ballad "Reasons," an extremely popular radio-aired album track.

The multi-platinum album Gratitude held the number one pop album spot for three weeks in late 1975. On the album was "Singasong" (gold, number one R&B for two weeks, number five pop), the Skip Scarborough ballad "Can't Hide Love" (number 11 R&B), and the popular radio-aired album tracks "Celebrate," "Gratitude," and the live version of "Reasons." In 1976, Maurice decided he wanted to record a spiritual album. The multi-platinum album Spirit parked at number two pop for two weeks in fall of 1976 and boasted the gold, number one R&B single "Getaway" and "Saturday Nite." Spirit is remembered as one of EWF's best albums and sadly for also being the last project of Producer Charles Stepney. He died May 17, 1976, in Chicago, IL, at the age of 45. Charles was a former Chess Records arranger/producer/session musician/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and Maurice's main collaborator on his EWF projects. The multi-platinum album All 'N All peaked at number three pop in late 1977, won three Grammy's, and had arrangements by Chicago soul mainstay Tom Tom Washington and Eumir Deodato. The singles were "Serpentine Fire" (number one R&B for seven weeks) and "Fantasy." The group's horn section, the legendary Phenix Horns (Don Myrick on saxophone, Louis Satterfield on trombone, Rahmlee Michael Davis and Michael Harris on trumpets) became an integral part of the Earth, Wind & Fire sound.

During this time, Maurice produced several artists such as The Emotions (1976's Flowers and 1977's Rejoice which included the number one R&B/pop hit "Best Of My Love") and Deniece Williams (1976's This Is Niecy which included the Top Ten R&B hit "Free"). In the late seventies, in association with Columbia Records, Maurice also launched a record label, ARC.

The multi-platinum greatest-hits set The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. I included a cover of the Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life" went to number one R&B and number nine pop in Summer 1978. The group performed the song in the 1978 Bee Gees/Peter Frampton movie 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. Another single, "September," made it to number one R&B, number eight pop in early 1978. On the flip side was the enchanting popular radio-aired album track "Love's Holiday" from All 'N All.

Their live performances were stellar as well. Sellout crowds were spellbound by the band's bombastic performances. Their performances blasted a cosmic wave of peace, love and other happy vibrations to audiences using a combination of eye-popping costumes, lights, pyrotechnics and plain old good music. Sometimes they even threw in magic illusions. Earth, Wind & Fire's message was one of universal harmony, in both musical and cultural senses. "We live in a negative society," Maurice told Newsweek. "Most people can't see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine."

The multi-platinum album I Am hit number three pop in Summer 1979 on the strength of the million-selling single "Boogie Wonderland" with The Emotions (number two R&B for four weeks, number six pop) and the phenomenal gold ballad "After The Love Has Gone," written by David Foster, Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin that stayed at number two R&B/pop for two weeks. Their Faces album peaked at number ten pop in late 1980 and was boosted to gold by the singles "Let Me Talk" (number eight R&B), "You" (number ten R&B), and "And Love Goes On."

The million-selling funked-up "Let's Groove," co-written by The Emotions' Wanda Vaughn and her husband Wayne Vaughn, was the track that re-energized EWF's career, parking at number one R&B for eight weeks and number three pop, causing their Raise! album to go platinum (hitting number five pop in late 1981). Their next gold album Powerlight made it to number 12 pop in spring 1983 and included the Top Ten R&B single and Grammy-nominated "Fall In Love With Me." Their 1983 Electric Universe album stalled at number 40 pop, breaking the band's string of gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums.

In 1983, Maurice decided he and the band needed a break. During this hiatus, Maurice recorded his self-titled solo album Maurice White and produced various artists including Neal Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Holliday. Reuniting with the band in 1987, EWF released the album Touch The World and scored yet another number one R&B single, "System of Survival" and embarked on a corresponding nine-month world tour. This was followed by the 1988 release The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire Vol. II.

In 1990 the group released the album Heritage. Two years later, Earth, Wind & Fire released The Eternal Dance; a 55-track boxed set retrospective of the band's entire history. The appearance of such a project after a prolonged period of relative inactivity signaled to many listeners that the band was calling it quits but that did not turn out to be case. In 1993, EWF released the album, Millennium that included the Grammy-nominated "Sunday Morning" and "Spend The Night."

Earth, Wind & Fire kept recording and in 1996 released Avatar and Greatest Hits Live; followed by 1997's In The Name Of Love; 2002's That's The Way Of The World: Alive In '75; Live In Rio which was recorded during their 1979 "I Am World Tour;" 2003's The Promise, which included the Grammy-nominated "Hold Me" and 2005's Illumination, which included the Grammy-nominated "Show Me The Way."

In 2000, the nine-piece '70s edition of Earth, Wind & Fire reunited for one night only in honor of their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. In 2001, Eagle Rock Entertainment released the documentary 'Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Stars', which contains rarely seen historic video footage along with in-depth interviews with the band members.

Even though Maurice is no longer a part of the touring group, he remains the band's heart and soul from behind the scenes as composer and producer. Maurice reflects, "I wanted to create a library of music that would stand the test of time. ‘Cosmic Consciousness' is the key component of our work. Expanding awareness and uplifting spirits is so important in this day. People are looking for more. I hope our music can give them some encouragement and peace."

IN THIS MONTH'S LEGENDARY CORNER-THE FREESTYLE KING, SUPER NATURAL Tags: legendary corner super natural freestyle king hip hop featured artist word life production

 Reco Price (born April 23, 1970), better known by his stage name Supernatural (aka Super Nat or MC Supernatural) is an American rapper best known for his "on-the-spot" freestyle and battle rap abilities[1][2] He has been a regular performer and host of the Rock the Bells Music Festival since its beginning in 2004. Born in Marion, Indiana, Supernatural began rhyming at the age of 10.[4] Moving to New York City at the age of 19, Supernatural began to make a name for himself on the hip hop scene rhyming in local night clubs. By 1993, he had landed a radio-show on 98.7 Kiss-FM where he met KRS-One from the group Boogie Down Productions who became not only a friend but his business manager.[5] Supernatural signed with Elektra Records in 1995 and recorded an album titled "Natural Disasters". He reportedly had a dispute with Elektra and was subsequently dropped from the label, leaving the album unreleased until 2000.

His freestyle rapping battles with MC Juice and Craig G are highly regarded. Using a line that simultaneously revealed Supernatural's origin and referenced pop culture ("When you go back home to Indiana, get Mike Tyson out the slammer"), Craig G. delivered Supernatural the first major loss of his career as a freestyle battle rapper at the New Music Seminar in 1994.

Supernatural later arranged a rematch with Craig G. The outcome of this competition was inconclusive though decisively in Supernatural's favor, due to emotional distress on the part of Craig G, who ended the battle. Supernatural's story and performances are reported in the documentary film Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, which contains clips of his and Craig G's battle. The film also contains clips of a notable battle between Supernatural and MC Juice, another popular freestyle rapper who was featured on the Wake Up Show. In this competition, Supernatural defeated MC Juice in two of three freestyle rounds, although, reportedly, there were disputes over the legitimacy of this conclusion.

Supernatural released several singles prior to 1997. He has also released 2 full-length albums, including "Natural Disasters" and "S.P.I.T. (Spiritual Poetry Ignites Thought)" (2005, Up Above Records), which features Raekwon (of the Wu Tang Clan), B-Real (of Cypress Hill), and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5). A compilation of previously-recorded tracks entitled "The Lost Freestyle Files" was released in 2003.[6]

On August 5, 2006, Supernatural successfully set a new world record for the longest continuous freestyle rap while hosting the Rock the Bells festival in San Bernardino, CA. The nine-hour and fifteen minute session earned him a place in the Guinness World Records., [7] breaking Canadian rapper D. O.'s record of 8 hours and 45 minutes. On September 12, 2009, Supernatural's record was broken by the Brooklyn-based rapper DJ Green Arrow, whose record of 9 Hours and 57 minutes was set at St. Mark's Church. DJ Green Arrow reported, on the True School Radio show, that Supernatural inspired him to take freestyle rapping seriously.

 

IN THIS MONTH'S LEGENDARY CORNER THE SPOTLIGHT IS ON ERIC B & RAKIM Tags: eric b rakim real hip hop music legendary corner word life production feature


While Eric B dazzled listeners with his turntable techniques, Rakim pointed the way toward the easy-rollin' style of the '90s with his laidback raps, though forceful in content. Each of the duo's first three albums achieved gold status, and they even managed the Top Five R&B hit "Friends" in 1989.

While working as a mobile DJ for New York's WBLS during 1985, Eric Barrier met William Griffin, a top MC who had grown up on Long Island. The two began recording together and emerged with "Eric B Is President."

The single appeared in 1986 on Harlem's Zakia label, and became a street sensation. Signed to 4th & Broadway the following year, Eric B & Rakim released their debut album, Paid in Full.

The LP's success led to a contract with Uni/MCA in 1988, and their second album, Follow the Leader, was released that year. Two more albums followed, Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em (1990) and Don't Sweat the Technique (1992), after which the duo broke up. By the mid-'90s, Eric B. had emerged as a solo act on his own 95th Street label. — John Bush

Review: Eric B. and Rakim - Follow the Leader - LP (MCA - 1988)

 

After coming out with one of the most impressive and successful debut albums in Hip-Hop history, Paid In Full, there had to be serious pressure on Eric B. and Rakim to beat the dreaded sophomore jinx with the release of their second LP. Not only did the duo beat the odds with Follow the Leader, they also expanded their range with dope original music and beats and also with precise lyrics delivered by Rakim that had many MCs and fans on his nut-sack. The atmospheric title track (with its menacing keyboard accompaniment) gave Rakim the room to spit imaginative lyrics that showcased his original approach to rocking the mic while taking the listener on a musical journey - an instant classic track.

But wait, the second track is just as dope, "Microphone Fiend." Over Average White Band’s funky "Schoolboy Crush" Rakim explains his addiction to kickin’ lyrics that started at an early age: "’Cause I grab the mic and try to say yes y’all/They try to take it, they say that I’m too small/Cool ’cause I don’t get upset/I kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug, then I jet."

The rest of the LP is consistent with this level of achievement, if not as stunning, which means it still was way above most of the competition. The bottom line is that this team has secured a permanent place in rap history, and way after all the wannabe gangstas and marijuana bandwagon-jumpers have been forgotten, albums like this will still have heads bobbin’.  

Legendary Corner/Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh Tags: slick rick doug E Fresh legendary corner word life production hip hop will never

Although Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh may be known as solo artists today, the two rappers solidified their status as hip-hop icons when they joined forces in the mid-1980s. To this day, the former has one of rap's most unique lyrical deliveries and inimitable sartorial styles. (He still wears truck jewelry and an eye-patch when he performs.) The latter still is a master beatboxer and is considered the genre's ultimate crowd pleaser.

As members of the Get Fresh Crew along with two DJs Chill Will and Barry B, London-born Rick Walters (then known as MC Ricky D) and Barbados native Douglas Davis (aka Doug E. Fresh) linked up to record two of rap's most enduring party anthems.

The first song, "La Di, Da Di," gained popularity when Doug, the self-proclaimed 'The Original Human Beatbox,' enlisted Ricky to add his story rhymes over his uncanny ability to vocally mimic drum machines beats and other sound effects into a microphone. The partners performed the track - on which Rick tells a detailed comical tale about getting propositioned by an unlikely cougar - at live shows, creating a huge buzz even before they wound up recording it in 1985.

Another single, 'The Show,' which sampled the 'Inspector Gadget' theme song, became an even bigger hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts that year. The two songs immediately made Ricky D a fan favorite. He admitted to 'Insomniac' magazine that the attention he got from those records tested their relationship.

"It might of put a little bit of a strain on the relationship, because I was a guest on his ship," Rick said. "I had received such major attention and then the problem of the money, as far as it's your ship why should I get more than you. I think is was best that I branched off in my own way to avoid any conflict."

As a result, Ricky D embarked on a solo career, changing his stage name to Slick Rick and signing to the Russell Simmons-led Def Jam Records. But it took another three years before the rapper would release his debut album, 'The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.'

The album proved to be worth the wait as it was jam-packed with great narratives and some devilishly salacious rhymes all in his unique quasi-British accent. Tracks like 'Children's Story,' 'Hey Young World,' 'Mona Lisa,' and 'Teenage Love' were proof that Rick wasn't just into gratuitous sextalk, but had emerged as hip-hop's best storyteller with songs that detailed realistic urban struggles, promoted dreaming big and touched on the joys and pains of relationships.

That same year, Doug E. Fresh, released his second album, 'The World's Greatest Entertainer,' but was overshadowed by Slick Rick's debut. (Doug's first LP, 1987's 'Oh, My God!,' featured most of his showpieces, like 'Play This Only at Night' and 'All the Way to Heaven.') The sophomore featured hits such as 'Rising to the Top' and 'Cut That Zero', two songs that helped cement his playboy persona. But after that album, Doug's career began to stall. He had moderate hits in the '90s including call-and-response party-starter, 'I-ight (Alright)' and 'Freaks,' on which he mostly beatboxes while pint-sized dancehall phenom Lil Vicious rhymes in a melodic Jamaican patois.

Rick's career took a hit too when he served jail time for his involvement in a shooting, and subsequently faced deportation charges. Despite his legal troubles, he released two hastily crafted albums - 'The Ruler's Back' (1991) and 'Behind Bars' (1994). But it wasn't until 1999, when his comeback album 'The Art of Storytelling' really saw Rick fulfill his early potential.

These days, both Doug and Rick are regarded as two of hip-hop's best ever entertainers and regularly perform their hits separately and together on spot tour dates. Doug has even inspired a dance craze and song 'Teach Me How to Dougie' by the Los Angeles rap crew, Cali Swag District.

Influenced...Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer, Nas, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Outkast, Mos Def, Cali Swag District, Ludacris, Raekwon, Chamillionaire, MF DOOM, Eminem, etc.

 

http://blogs.blackvoices.com/2011/06/13/slick-rick-and-doug-e-fresh/ 
 

 

LEGENDARY CORNER-TRIBE CALLED QUEST Tags: tribe called quest legendary corner word life production real hip hop music all day


 

A Tribe Called Quest is one of Hip Hops most legendary, beloved and revered groups of all time and for good reason. Easily recognized for their unique approach to rap music by employing jazz infused soundscapes to Afro centric rhymes, sans the jaded and often nihilistic aggressive posturing associated with hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest was largely responsible for the popularity of a new genre that dominated the East Coast sound of the early 1990s.

Queens, New York natives Q-Tip , Phife Dawg , and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Brooklyn, formed ATCQ in 1985. Jarobi, the honorary member of ATCQ, though not always heard, was a fixture of the group in heart and in friendship. QUEST, the original name of the group, was later given the prefix A Tribe Called by their high school buddies, The Jungle Brothers, while recording Black Is Black for their album Straight Out The Jungle. ATCQ, along with the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, formed a unit called The Native Tongues. With a building buzz around The Native Tongues and Tribes energetic live performances, ATCQ landed a major recording contract with Jive Records in 1989.

Sonically, ATCQ was a decisive and welcomed tangent of jazz, bass-heavy rhythmic vibes and eclectic sampling when compared to the mundane recycling of soul loops, breaks and vocals of their contemporaries. Lyrically, emcees Q-Tip and Phife Dawg addressed social issues relevant to young blacks such as use of the n word and its relevance, date rape and other interpersonal relationships, industry politics and consumerism with infectious energy and fun and having a good time while still promoting positivity.

ATCQ composed a number of successful singles and albums with their creative approach to rap music. In 1990, the group released Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, scoring several memorable songs including Bonita Applebum, Can I Kick It and I Left my Wallet in El Segundo. It was their sophomore effort, The Low End Theory, considered one of the greatest follow-ups in hip-hop history, that would solidify them as legends. Released in late 1991, the freedom expressed in the creation and feel of this record – along with its successor Midnight Marauders – influenced many future artists and producers such as Common, The Roots, Jill Scott, Kanye West and The Neptunes. These artists are a part of ATCQs legacy and are evidence of ATCQs impact for years to come. Classics like Award Tour, Electric Relaxation, Check The Rhyme and Scenario defined ATCQs sound during this period.

In 1996, ATCQs fourth album, Beats, Rhymes & Life, was released. The Ummah – a production team consisting of Q-Tip , Ali Shaheed and newcomer and stellar talent Jay Dee (now Jay Dilla of Slum Village) – was established the same year. The team worked together to share their aural aesthetic with other artists like Janet Jackson, DAngelo, and Faith Evans.

ATCQ continued to perfect and advance their sound, displaying their unique take on hip-hop. It was with the completion of their fifth studio album, The Love Movement, that ATCQ chose to exit the proverbial stage.

In recent years, the anticipation for another ATCQ album has been building. The Abstract Poetic, Five Foot Assasin , and Mr. Muhammad have yet to grace the studio for another record, but have hit the road again. Today, the power of their music is still evident in their dynamic stage shows and in the reception of their adoring fans.

A Tribe Called Quests anomalous posture has changed the face and sound of hip-hop and paved the way for future groups, artists, producers and even fans to be unapologetic about their creative expression. With or without future recordings, ATCQs legacy lives on in the groups creative innovation that is recognized as a profound contribution to musical history.

A Tribe Called Quest is one of Hip Hops most legendary, beloved and revered groups of all time and for good reason. Easily recognized for their unique approach to rap music by employing jazz infused soundscapes to Afro centric rhymes, sans the jaded and often nihilistic aggressive posturing associated with hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest was largely responsible for the popularity of a new genre that dominated the East Coast sound of the early 1990s.

Queens, New York natives Q-Tip , Phife Dawg , and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Brooklyn, formed ATCQ in 1985. Jarobi, the honorary member of ATCQ, though not always heard, was a fixture of the group in heart and in friendship. QUEST, the original name of the group, was later given the prefix A Tribe Called by their high school buddies, The Jungle Brothers, while recording Black Is Black for their album Straight Out The Jungle. ATCQ, along with the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, formed a unit called The Native Tongues. With a building buzz around The Native Tongues and Tribes energetic live performances, ATCQ landed a major recording contract with Jive Records in 1989.

Sonically, ATCQ was a decisive and welcomed tangent of jazz, bass-heavy rhythmic vibes and eclectic sampling when compared to the mundane recycling of soul loops, breaks and vocals of their contemporaries. Lyrically, emcees Q-Tip and Phife Dawg addressed social issues relevant to young blacks such as use of the n word and its relevance, date rape and other interpersonal relationships, industry politics and consumerism with infectious energy and fun and having a good time while still promoting positivity.

ATCQ composed a number of successful singles and albums with their creative approach to rap music. In 1990, the group released Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, scoring several memorable songs including Bonita Applebum, Can I Kick It and I Left my Wallet in El Segundo. It was their sophomore effort, The Low End Theory, considered one of the greatest follow-ups in hip-hop history, that would solidify them as legends. Released in late 1991, the freedom expressed in the creation and feel of this record – along with its successor Midnight Marauders – influenced many future artists and producers such as Common, The Roots, Jill Scott, Kanye West and The Neptunes. These artists are a part of ATCQs legacy and are evidence of ATCQs impact for years to come. Classics like Award Tour, Electric Relaxation, Check The Rhyme and Scenario defined ATCQs sound during this period.

In 1996, ATCQs fourth album, Beats, Rhymes & Life, was released. The Ummah – a production team consisting of Q-Tip , Ali Shaheed and newcomer and stellar talent Jay Dee (now Jay Dilla of Slum Village) – was established the same year. The team worked together to share their aural aesthetic with other artists like Janet Jackson, DAngelo, and Faith Evans.

ATCQ continued to perfect and advance their sound, displaying their unique take on hip-hop. It was with the completion of their fifth studio album, The Love Movement, that ATCQ chose to exit the proverbial stage.

In recent years, the anticipation for another ATCQ album has been building. The Abstract Poetic, Five Foot Assasin , and Mr. Muhammad have yet to grace the studio for another record, but have hit the road again. Today, the power of their music is still evident in their dynamic stage shows and in the reception of their adoring fans.

A Tribe Called Quests anomalous posture has changed the face and sound of hip-hop and paved the way for future groups, artists, producers and even fans to be unapologetic about their creative expression. With or without future recordings, ATCQs legacy lives on in the groups creative innovation that is recognized as a profound contribution to musical history.  

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