Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders LP


Jive (2015, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Buying Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest was a watershed moment in my hip hop education.  I loved the "Check The Rhime" video that ran on Yo! MTV Raps and just absorbed the CD the moment I picked it up.  Watching "Scenario" start to blow up a few months later was a little weird, but it was such a great song that it made all the sense in the world to me that it would start to leave to Yo! bubble.  By the time Midnight Marauders was ready in 1993, I was all in and so ready for some new Tribe music.  I was kind of disappointed when I finally listened to it.

I don't know what about this album didn't click with me in 1993.  Maybe I was too invested in Low End Theory?  Perhaps there were a lot of other eclectic hip hop acts to choose from?  I don't really know, but even though I didn't dislike it, I just didn't listen to it that much.  It took a while for me to finally revisit Midnight Marauders and as I listened to it, I couldn't figure out why I neglected it in high school.  It's probably not quite as good as Low End Theory, but it's really, really great.

The beats are innovative and are fresh sounding to my ears even in 2021.  The flow of the album from one song to the next is perfect and I could even argue that Phife shines brighter on this record than he did on Low End.  As I fill out my Golden Era vinyl collection, it was a no brainer that I need the three key Tribe Called Quest albums.  Sure, this is the third of the three to get picked up, but I fully expect to listen to it just as much as the other two.

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (YouTube Music full album playlist):


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