on August 11, 2003
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.
on June 21, 2003
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.
on August 3, 2004
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!
on October 29, 1999
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.
on July 13, 2003
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.
on August 29, 2006
In these days that it's almost embarrassing to say that you like hip hop, one needs only to listen to this album to realize the amazing potential for hip-hop as high artistic expression in music.
Start with the beat. Something jazzy, not too complicated, throw in a synth if you must. Don't put too many layers on top. You don't need high pitched samples.
Then get an intelligent MC who can rhyme about something other than their wealth, women, and criminal background. The more skillful they are to feeling and flowing to the beat, the less production you need. Appropriate social commentary and lessons in life will push it into classic territory.
Sure Illmatic and Ready to Die are classics, but you don't need an album full of violence and tales from the hood to make good hip hop. Listen to this, ATLiens, The Roots, and Cunninlyguists and please save hip hop as an art form.
This was my first hip hop album and has made me a fan for life.
on February 1, 2016
I simply cannot stop listening to this album. Tribes second album "The Low End Theory" was released in 1991, and still to this day is better than all the booty crap released within the past fifteen years or so. Q-Tip is now maybe my favorite MC, his flow is smooth like "Butter" and is infectious. This album is also the "real" resurgence of Phife Dawg. Both MC's rap alongside each other as if they came from the same womb. Ali Shaheed Mohammad is sick on the beats and scratches. Don't expect gangsta violence, this is positive Hip-Hop at it's finest. Tip and Dawg rap about truth of self, and uplifting the nation full of ignorance and racial inequalities, and how to treat woman in a misogynist society. Like I said, I cannot stop listening to this, the album bangs from start to finish, and has quite possibly the best lyrical ending to finish an album out, ever.
Just listen to these bangers and I guarantee you'll cop this. It is a must own for all Hip Hop fans. Don't miss out on this.
- Buggin' Out, you'll break your neck listening to this track
- Vibes And Stuff
- Jazz(We've Got)
on July 24, 2005
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.
on August 24, 2001
A Tribe Called Quest is by far my favorite Rap group ever because no one can or has matched the skills these guys have. They know how to make albums as well as hits. No one can say that they are really into Hip-hop if they don't agree with what I'm saying. I remember when this first came out. Everybody was talking about this album and everyone that knew I had it wanted to borrow it from me. It was crazy! The Low End Theory is the climax of ATCQ's history and it will go down as one of the greatest contributions to rap. Just check this album out if you haven't done so already and you will know exactly what I mean. I highly recommend buying their first album as well, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, which is as good if not better than this. Get Midnight Marauders after you have completely immersed and absorbed yourself in the first two albums and your looking for more. But don't look any further past their third album for more of the jazzy sound that you like because their style changes a little and is quite different than their first three albums. But their later albums are better than a lot of stuff that is out there now. Oh yeah if your a casual listener than buy the Anthology but if you really want to hear ATCQ than just buy their albums. I promise you will not regret it. A Tribe Called Quest is the Best! PEACE!
on January 1, 2001
Every hip-hop fan should own this. It is one of the best hip-hop albums I've heard, and definitely one of the best A Tribe Called Quest have done. The sound is completely different from their debut. It's richer is jazz and soul and the group has matured. The production is superb, the rhymes are excellent, and overall, this album does not have any flaws. The classics "Check The Rhyme", "Jazz", and "Scenario" are all here as well as my favorites "Butter", "Excursions", and "Verses From The Abstract." Even if you haven't heard these guys and you like hip-hop, buy this now. You will not be disappointed at all.