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The Low End Theory


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Audio CD, September 24, 1991
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Excursions 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Buggin' Out 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Rap Promoter 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Butter 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Verses from the Abstract 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Show Business 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Vibes and Stuff 4:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Infamous Date Rape 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Check the Rhime 3:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Everything Is Fair 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Jazz (We've Got) 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Skypager 2:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. What? 2:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Scenario (LP Mix) 4:10$1.29  Buy MP3 

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The Low End Theory + Midnight Marauders + People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jive
  • ASIN: B0000004X7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,484 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

De La Soul are remembered as the premier Native Tongues posse, those rappers who got low-key, self-consciously thoughtful, and jazzy in the face of gangsta's hardcore threats. But A Tribe Called Quest may have been even stronger, especially on their excellent second album, the bass-thumping, heavily jazz-sampled The Low End Theory. According to the opening "Excursions," rapper Q-Tip's old man says the disc's jazz-rap "reminded him of bebop," and Q calls himself "prominent like Shakespeare." But if Charlie Parker had ever written poetic couplets and backed them with funky-drummer and Ron Carter-on-bass grooves this irresistible, he might have been as big as the Bard and Brother James combined. --David Cantwell

Customer Reviews

This album never gets old, so pick up a copy, and put it in your cd player.
D. Brown
Tribe's most consistently flowing album with extremely good rhymes and smooth jazzy beats.
Gordon V.
The Low End Theory is certainly one of the best hip-hop albums ever recorded.
John Alapick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on June 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Well, here it is: after more than 250 reviews, my first ever of a rap album. And I can't think of one more deserving than "The Low End Theory." It's because of albums like this one that it pays to keep an open mind. Much like rock, hip-hop over the past decade (or at least its public face) has been largely a non-stop parade of mediocrity, but A Tribe Called Quest provided convicing proof of just how much potential the genre actually has. Instead of focusing too much on establishing a threatening image or blasting the listener's eardrums with mindless and overbearing basslines, Tribe married the seemingly contradictory poles of jazz and rap with more musicality and intelligence than anyone would have a right to expect. The uber-smooth Q-Tip and Phife spat out witticisms and allusions with a flow that puts the likes of DMX and Ja Rule to shame. The jazzy drums and bass in the background give the music a warm and organic feel, in sharp contrast to the canned beats that predominate in hip-hop (with a few exceptions) these days. Perhaps most importantly, the fourteen songs here are all irresistibly catchy. If you can't bob your head to tunes like "Excursions," "Buggin' Out," the aptly titled "Butter," and the concluding rave-up "Scenario," chances are you're way too uptight. Busta Rhymes's guest spot on "Scenario" even makes me want to get down, and there are few people out there more rhythmically impaired than I. "The Low End Theory" is a great reminder of how little things like fun and artistry could make for a great album. That's certainly a lesson that more people in every genre would be well advised to heed.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ok....I'm a fifty year old mother to 4 teenagers. I've stayed pretty "hip" thru the years, but always resisted rap or hip-hop. My son and I recently had a discussion about the genre and he suggested I start with the Tribe. Damn. I love it. Can't stop playing it.
It's the best sound I've heard in a verrry long time.
I'm new again. That's what music is supposed to do. Make the experience of sound new. Get it, all you old rocksters.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By H. Yu on August 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was in the local library one day. Looking through the CD section, I happened to come across Tribe Called Quest's CD "The Low End Theory". Since I never really listened to them (apart from watching their videos on MTV), I decided to check it out. All I can say is that I wasn't disappointed in the least bit! To sum it up, TLET is a very jazzy, bluesy CD with intelligent, playful lyrics and then some! In my honest opinion, Q-Tip is one of the smoothest (if not THE smoothest) MC's around! By that, I mean he is definitely as smooth as butter (his voice that is). Very glib and articulate too. Don't get me wrong, Phife Dawg is lyrically talented and on point as well, but I think Q-Tip stands out more. In general, TLET flows with both talent and a style unlike anything else I've heard. Now, I can see why The Source gave this CD five mikes! In any case, I've started listening to more hip-hop (preferably old school like Eric B. & Rakim and De La Soul but some new groups too like Jurassic 5 (love those guys!) and The Roots). This is coming from someone who mainly listens to alt-rock, punk, and indie!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By drew on October 29, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Watch MTV for even a second these days and you're likely to get only kiddie music, and second rate hip hop packaged under beat-you-over-the-head marketing campaigns. You only wish the Tribe's masterful rhythms and rhymes were the rule rather than the exception. Only Tip and Phife seem capable of using pop culture references and hip hop machismo to create lyrics that have a deeper meaning than at first glance.
The album takes you straight in with "Excursions," which has the best bassline of maybe any rock or rap song ever recorded. It lures you through its driving rhythm and doesn't let up until the disc is over
Both rappers have their best showcase songs on this album: "Butter" for Phife and "Voices from the Abstract" for Q-Tip. Both songs are clever and have rhythms that are irrestible.
And for the all-star song, you can't beat "Scenario," which features Busta Rhymes' best rhymes ever.
Check out "Show Business," "Check the Rhime," and everything else. There's not one bad track, which is a quality no disc made by a major label in the past two years can boast. It's a masterpiece.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "theskinnycritic" on July 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
In one defining moment, A Tribe Called Quest made a classic CD as well as opened possiblities to what Hip Hop (and music) could become. This makes the Low End Theory one of the most important Hip Hop CDs ever made. If the Native Tongues (De La Soul and Jungle Brothers) added fresh new colors to Hip-Hop, then A Tribe Called Quest were the Michaelangelo of their time and the Low End Theory was their Sistine Chapel. Check the Rhime, Vibes & Stuff, and Verses From the Abstract were all sounds that hip-hop fans had never heard before. The Tribe took obscure, yet masterful jazz abstractions and anchored them with heavy, low end beats. Add in Q-Tip's enigmatic flow and a game Phife (check him on Butter and Scenario) and the resulting music was more fun than Be-Bop and is still light years ahead of most of the hip-hop in your CD player right now. Never before had rap artists put in such work to fuse beats, melodies, lyrics, timing, and thought into a relevant musical effort as ecletic and stomping as this CD. As a group, a Tribe Called Quest raised the bar in Hop-Hop at a time when it needed raising (Hammertime, Young MC, anyone?) and for that, the heads are eternally grateful. The Low End Theory crystalized the the Tribe as legends in the rap genre and still makes a definitive statement about creativity, innovation, and artistry in modern music.
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