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A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels And the Paths of Rhythm (33 1/3) Paperback – April 20, 2007
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About the Author
Shawn Taylor is the author of the book Big Black Penis: Misadventures in Race and Masculinity. He conducts lectures on cultural issues at high schools and colleges up and down the West Coast. He lives in California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Don't get me wrong, this is still my least favorite album in this series, and my least favorite Tribe album next to the group's uninspired finale (The Love Movement), but author Shawn Taylor's treatment of People's really gave me new perspective. One could argue that the book is too much about him, but I really identified with his connection to the album -- how songs remind him of times, places, events. Other albums do this for me, and it was interesting to walk in Taylor's shoes. He talks about being an "Afro-geek," and how Tribe made this cool -- at least for a while in 1990. By '91 and beyond, they were more straight-up boom-bap rap, and that's why I've always liked their subsequent albums better, but now I "get" People's, thanks to Taylor.
Criticisms: I liked Taylor's approach, which was recalling old journal entries he made as a teenager listening to the album for the first time, and then listening to it in 2006 and recording his thoughts sixteen years later, but I could have done without some of the editorializing (i.e., footnotes telling readers to check out Handsome Boy Modeling School "for a sonic treat") -- I thought this was sort of unprofessional and disrupted the flow of the book. Also, while all other 33 and 1/3 books I've read draw on interviews with contributors to the album, the body of Taylor's book does not -- but it's not because he didn't try. Reportedly, no one involved in the album would return his calls, which is a shame. The lone exception is engineer Bob Power, whom Taylor interviewed for the final 15 pages of the book. The only problem here, of course, is that "the Bob Power sound" would not emerge until The Low End Theory, and thus it would have been a lot more interesting to read an interview with Power about the later Tribe albums than this one.
Of all the 33 and 1/3 books, this is easily the most deeply personal. It isn't as in-depth as the books on PE, the Beastie Boys, and Nas, but it is an interesting look at how this strange little album was perceived by a young NYC black man in 1990, and how it has influenced his life over the past sixteen years. I'd definitely recommend reading the Nation of Millions, Paul's Boutique, and Illmatic books ahead of this one, but make this fourth on your list.