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Beats, Rhymes & Life

4.3 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 30, 1996
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Beats, Rhymes & Life
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  • The Low End Theory
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Total price: $21.27
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1 x CD Album
Europe 1996

1Phony Rappers3:35
2Get A Hold3:35
3Motivators3:20
4Jam4:38
5Crew1:58
6The Pressure3:02
71nce Again3:49
8Mind Power3:55
9The Hop3:27
10Keeping It Moving3:38
11Baby Phife's Return3:18
12Separate / Together1:38
13What Really Goes On3:23
14Word Play2:59
15Stressed Out4:57

Amazon.com

Tribe's fourth album, Beats, Rhymes, and Life, should be the awkward one, the album on which the group, growing up, falters a little as it figures out what it's going to do next. It isn't. Marked by a number of changes, both internally (this is the album on which the Ummah production crew takes over, and it also marks Q-Tip's new religious faith) and externally (by 1996 Quest's jazzy approach to hip-hop had fallen out of popular favor), Beats finds Tribe taking it as it comes and handling all of the challenges with flair. It's a slower, steadier album than either People's Instinctive Travels or The Low End Theory, but that's a description, not a complaint; rather, it gives you plenty of time to enjoy jams like "1nce Again." It doesn't hurt that Q-Tip and Phife Dog are feeling the flow here; an inspired pairing with distinctive voices and different strengths, they trade verses with fluid grace. --Randy Silver
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 30, 1996)
  • Parental Advisory ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: July 30, 1996
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 51 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000053T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,604 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's A Tribe Called Quest Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Excuse me, but what LP have all you so-called hip hop fans been listening to? "Tribe really fell off" is a favorite catchphrase people have using since this was released in 1996 and I still don't get it! "Beats, Rhymes and Life" is the most perfect album these gents have ever crafted and stands as a true classic in any genre. Tribes first 3 albums have been elevated to classic status because they all were released in quick succession, but after a 3 1/2 year lay off, the group lost some of it's core audience and the narrow-minded, fickle people who call themselves true hip hop 'heads' jumped on the "let's bash Tribe" bandwagon and deemed this album wack. What a terrible mistake! From the bangin' opener "Phony Rappers" this is a new, refreshed and mature Tribe and over the course of 15 tracks, Q-Tip, Phife and Shaheed top themselves over and over again. My personal faves from this album change every week (currently it's "Jam" featuring some of the best drums EVER to appear on a tribe album) so I won't single out any tracks, I will merely say this album can be listened to from start to finish without ever hitting skip/forward on your CD player. Special Musical Note: This CD gets special love from me for giving a much deserved shout-out to the then recently deceased Phyllis Hyman (on "Baby Phifes Return"). Ignore the naysayers, "B R & L" is a stunning achievement. Worth Owning.
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Format: Audio CD
I believe this was the last true Tribe album. The Love Movement didn't exactly seem like the way they should go out to me. This album reminds me of high school and being down the shore. I can't even explain to you the way I used to zone out to "Get a Hold", an overlooked track on this album. The rhymes are slick, as is to be expected from Q and Phife - and the tracks are all soulful and creatively constructed. 1nce Again was the single off this album and it really captured the Tribe sound as it had developed over time.

A solid effort from one of the greatest hip hop groups of all time.
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Format: Audio CD
When I first copped this, I put it in my system at home and listened to it mostly subconsciously while doing other things. At first, I was very dissappointed at what I had heard and angry about how this was so different than their three predecessors. It would be a while before I played it again.

The next time I popped "B,R, & L" in was in my car, thinking it needed a second chance. Before I was halfway through the disc I started feeling it. And soon I was really feeling it. At first I was unsatisfied with the more prevalent swearing and very laid-back beats and flows, but once I started understanding their approach I played this like it was brand new. I still found time to listen to it throughout the next couple of months in which I bought many new cd's.

I should say that this is tied as my second favorite Tribe album with "Low End Theory" and behind their first masterpiece ("Peoples' Instictive Travels..."). "Midnight Marauders" was solid, but I never really got into that one. The strong point of this album starts with "The Pressure" and ending with "Keep It Moving," probably the strongest 6-10 lineup I've heard on any cd. Q-Tip's solo "Get A Hold" is a standout too, and probably my favorite on the disc. This album is worth buying alone for tracks 2 and 6-10. "Phony Rappers" and "Wordplay" are songs that are also not to be missed. "Separate/Together" is a beautiful short track as well. I really like the feel of "Stressed Out," even though Consequence delivers a weak last verse (like he does thoughout most of his few turns throughout the album), nontheless Faith's vocals leave with the perfect mood ending the disc.

In no way did the Tribe fall off starting here. I prefer this album to "Midnight Marauders" any day.
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Format: Audio CD
I would have given this album 2 1/2 stars in 1996, and been happy about it. I remember it vividly. It was July, and I was jonesing for the Quest to follow up to their masterpiece "Midnight Marauders" released a little less than three years earlier. I stepped into the store on cloud 9, and returned home as quickly as I could to pop this in......and what I got was about an hour of disappointment. I just wasn't prepared for this kind of shift. This album was nowhere near as beautiful as any of their previous work. I held them to such a high standard, that anything less than astonishment was unacceptable. This was a dense, nuanced album, that showed that the mid 90's Quest was not the early 90's Quest. It's bass heavy, linear production resembles some of the things to come a few years later from second wave alterna-rap juggernauts, The Roots, and Common.

This may not be their best, but it's still an excellent album. The wordplay between Phife, and Q-Tip was still almost telepathic, and while the feel of easiness was gone, song to song was not a difficult listen. There was also extremely pure reminders of why Quest was so loved in the first place (ie "The Jam", and "1nce Again") Those songs rank among the best of anything in their catalog. Songs like: "Phony Rappers"(an excellent battle rap) "Get A Hold", "Motivators", "What Really Goes On, and "Word Play" represent some of the best work in their post-peak period. This album also showcases some of the best work of The Ummah production unit, which consisted of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jay-Dee.

The album closes with "Stressed Out" a surprising collaboration with Faith Evans that doesn't elate or disappoint (the album version would later be outdone by an excellent maxi featuring remixes by Bjork, and so on).
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