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The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called QuestAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)

Price: $7.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 1991 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1991 $7.00  
Vinyl, 1996 $19.75  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

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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Frequently Bought Together

The Low End Theory + Midnight Marauders [Vinyl] + Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
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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 (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,503 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

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

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If it moves your booty then shake, shake it baby" 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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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never too late August 11, 2003
By A Customer
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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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hip-hop classic indeed! August 3, 2004
By H. Yu
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAKES THE NEWEST HIP HOP LOOK AMATEURISH October 29, 1999
By drew
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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah yes, my first Rap review July 24, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I am not a big fan of hip-hop. There are only a few artists in the genre I listen to. From my limited knowledge of the genre comes this statement: The two greatest rap albums ever are "36 Chambers" and "Low End Theory". On the other hand, I am a massive fan of Jazz, and this album has such an incredibly rich Jazz atmosphere. Only De La Soul came close to perfecting the connection between Hip-Hop and Jazz so well. The rhymes go perfectly over the incredibly funky music in the background, and Ron Carter provides some of the best bass playing hes ever done. And unlike many other rap groups, there is a poetic unity between Q-Tip and Phife. The flow between the rappers is incredible, as the change between rappers never seem abrupt. They often come off as alternating personalities of one individual. And above all, the lyrics are insightful and intelligent, which 50 Cent could never claim to do. There is zero filler on this album, as the shorter songs "Rap Promoter" and "Sky Pager" fit in perfectly with the longer peices. The thing that stands out most of all about this album is the rhythm and the groove - its insanely dancable. Pick it up even if you're not a rap fan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This is an easy review. This has to be one of the top 20 rap albums ever produced. Pretty much you can never go wrong with a classic hip hop album during the golden era of Hiphop
Published 11 days ago by KENNY D
5.0 out of 5 stars VIBES AND STUFF
Published 2 months ago by STARR GAZER
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in 91 but still great
I think Ice Cube Death Certificate was better.This Low End...album is not my top 10 hip hop album of all times but it's still hard.Vibe & Stuff!!!,Checc The Rhime!!! Read more
Published 3 months ago by SxS
5.0 out of 5 stars greatness
each song is worth it
no skips
hard to find hip hop albums like this these days
a must buy for anyone considering
Published 4 months ago by BeatrixKiddo
4.0 out of 5 stars great classic album
Their rhyme and music are brilliant. Still wish it was less misogynistic, but better than most. This is a classic album from the beginning of the genre.
Published 6 months ago by Bella Diamond
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best album's I've ever listened to
I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about or experiencing rap that forms the foundation of modern rap and hiphop. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Low end theory
A true hip hop classic! I lost my original CD in a move this past year and needed to replace it. Hands down, one of the top ten hip hop albums of all time.
Published 7 months ago by GD Esquire
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising
This was the final part of my older son gift.
An 80's CD from the dawn of Hip Hop.
Something really fresh, a CD for collectors.
Published 7 months ago by Victor Manriquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Hip-hop classic, for sure
This album is one of the great hip-hop albums of the early 90s. Required listening for anyone who loves East coast rap.
Published 9 months ago by Corey Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Hip-Hop
Even if you already have the album in your collection, doesn't hurt to get it again @ this steal of a price. Tribe's a classic. Can't go wrong. Read more
Published 9 months ago by d1gg1ninthacr8s
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