20 Tribe Called Quest Playlist Essentials

In honor of Q-Tip's 48th birthday, here's a list of 20 essentials every A Tribe Called Quest fan needs in their life: 

20. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo (1990)

 

This single from 'People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm' showcases Q-Tip's elaborate storytelling abilities. The song describes Tribe's decision to take a road trip across America that goes less than ideal. The video features a young Game of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage.

19. I C U (Doin' It) ft. Erykah Badu (2003)

 

Tribe is well known for their old-school samples. This single samples The Commodore's 'High on Sunshine' with 90's queen, Ms. Erykah Badu on the hook.

18. We The People (2016)

 

A Tribe Called Quest reunited in 2016 to deliver fans a powerful social message with a new punk-rock influence. 

17. Flawless (2000)

 

This joint is one of Phife's early solo projects. If you look closely you can see 5-Foot-Assassin showing love to the Dubs in his old school white tee. 

16. Luck of Lucien (1990)

 

This single is dedicated to 90's rapper Lucien Revolucien, one of the most influential figures in France's Hip Hop movement. 

15. The Remedy ft. Common (1996)

 

Fans knew consciousness comes with a Common feature. This song deeply addresses issues of spirituality and community uprising.

14. Dance Tonight (2000)

 

Lucy Pearl was one of the products of A Tribe Called Quest's solo ventures. ATCQ member Ali Shaheed Muhammad teamed up with Tony! Toni! Tonè!'s Raphael Saadiq and D'Angelo to create the group. You may recognize this single from the Love & Basketball soundtrack. 

13. Rumble In The Jungle (1997)

 

A Tribe Called Quest teamed up with Fugees and Busta Rhymes to create what could be considered the mothership of conscious rap. The single's visuals are equally as powerful and follow the story of boxer/activist Muhammad Ali. 

12. Dear Dilla (2014)

 

'Dear Dilla' is a letter to producer and Phife's long-time friend, J. Dilla who passed away in 2006 from hrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (a rare blood disease). The music video also serves as a platform to showcase Phife's struggle with diabetes. 

Unfortunately Phife lost his battle in 2016; tragedy to the hip-hop community. 

11. 1nce Again ft. Tammy Lucas (1996)

 

'1nce Again' is featured on Tribe's fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life. The single brings nostalgia to early ATCQ fans with the iconic line:

"You on point Tip? Once Again Phife"

A reference to one of their early singles Check The Rhime (1991).

10. Oh My God (1993)

 

Tribe continues to show their broad sphere of influence with this single that samples Kool & The Gang's 1971 single 'Who's Gonna Take The Weight?'

9. Vivrant Thing (1999)

 

Q-Tip's solo project 'Vivrant Thing' peaked at #26 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1999. Tip can also be credited with coining the term "Vivrant Thing". 

8. Jazz (We've Got) Buggin' Out (1991)

 

ATCQ tastefully syncs rhythm and color in this two-for-one music video. Tribe raps in black and white to compliment their mellow, snare-heavy, jazz influenced beat during the first portion of the video. As the song shifts to 'Buggin' Out' the video switches to vibrant colors and quick transitions to pair with the heavy bass line beat and heightened tempo. 

7. Hot Sex (1992)

 

This 1992 track isolates itself from A Tribe Called Quest's typical laid back, laxed sound. Nonetheless the group's shows out with their notorious flow, word play and cultural references in their bars. 

The video features Brooklyn native, Eddie Murphy. 

6. Scenario (1991)

 

This video gives major 90's vibes. Listen carefully and you'll hear a 19-year-old Busta Rhymes when he got his start with the group Leaders of the New School

5. Can I Kick It? (1990)

 

This popular single samples American singer/song writer, Lou Reed's famous 'Walk on the Wild Side'. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Phife revealed that the sample was never actually cleared. While the group was allowed to use the sample, Reed recieved all the royalties. 

The song has since been remixed by J. Cole.

4. Mr. Muhammad (1990)

 

This single is often overlooked because of the success of 'Bonita Applebum' and 'Can I Kick It?' which are featured on the same album. ATCQ funkified Earth Wind and Fire's 'Brazilian Rhyme' with this sample.

3. Bonita Applebum (1990)

 

Bonita will go down in history as one of the most memorable fictional characters in rap history. 

She is still acknowledged today throughout popular culture. Pharrell remixed the song in celebration of the album's 25th birthday. Vans showed love to Bonita in their recent collab with A Tribe Called Quest.

2. Check The Rhime (1991)

 

'Check The Rhime' remained on the Billboard Top 100 for 12 consecutive weeks. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg take it back to their pre-fame days by referencing Linden Blvd. in Queens, New York. 

1. Electric Relaxation (1993)

 

This single was featured on ATCQ's second album, Midnight Marauders. You may recognize it as the theme song for The Wayans Bros. show during their first two seasons. 

With it's old-school Ronnie Foster sample, crazy wordplay and East Coast visuals 'Electric Relaxation'  is the epitome of A Tribe Called Quest song. 

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