“People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” by A Tribe Called Quest turns 30 years-old today. This project changed my life and my perspective on rap as an art form and Hip-Hop as a culture.
The only reason I even know about Tribe was because of Q-Tip’s feature on Jungle Brothers album Straight Out the Jungle, that I stole from a record shop at Lincoln Mall in Matteson IL..(don’t judge me). Q Tip was on a song called “Black is Black”. Native Tongues consisting of Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest was formed, then came Tribe with “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” in 1989.
“Push it Along” is the first song on the project. The baby crying at the start is akin to the birth of a new sound. I remember popping the tape into my moms Nissan Sentra and being immediately hooked. Q Tip’s vocabulary and the contrast of his and Pfhife’s voices along with the jazz inspired samples opened up a portal to a world I didn’t know existed.
I credit Tribe for expanding my musical palate when it comes to music. The lush horns, crisp break beats and samples were transformed into beautiful rap music by Ali-Shaheed Muhammad and Q -Tip. I know the legendary Donald Byrd because of the song “Footprints”. Q Tip filtered a portion of “Think Twice” by Byrd into a funky loop.
This album helps push forward the narrative of positivity and individuality into the 90’s. It also delivered one of the most memorable rap love songs of all time with “Bonita Applebum” The Hootie Mix of “Bonita Applebum” featured a sample of the Isley Brother “Between The Sheets”. It was a popular sample during that time, however I’m partial to the original. It feels more sincere and intentional. The original version is a marriage between Ramp’s “Daylight” and the genius of Charles Stepney on Rotary Connections “Memory”. The combination creates a rap classic.
30 years later we can thank A Tribe Called Quest for providing the culture with story telling, bars and love songs on one of the greatest rap projects ever created.
What is your favorite song from this project? What does this project mean to you? Share in the comments below.
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