Making The Moment: Midnight Marauders
[artist id="1150"]A Tribe Called Quest[/artist] pulled off the rare feat of dropping back-to-back-to-back classic albums in the early 1990s, with People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, The Low End Theory, and Midnight Mauraders.
But while they were creating those masterpieces, they were fully unaware of the impact the group was having on hip-hop. According to Phife Dawg, ATCQ were just concerned with keeping the momentum going from one project to the next.
"Gotta keep it coming," he told MTV News. "People's Instinctive, we knocked down the door. Low End Theory, we knocked it off the hinges. And we just had to skyrocket after that. I don't think we thought about it that much; we just decided to be ourselves and have fun with it. But I remember us saying to each other, 'Let's not make this a conceptual album — let's just have fun. Rhyme over these beats and do what we do.' But one important thing that we always had in mind was how the album would be sequenced, and I think that's what really made the album banging."
While the four-man collective — Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheem Muhammad and Jarobi — didn't realize yet the place they were carving out in music history, as they reflected on their careers, Tribe, touring this month on the Rock the Bells trek, said they understand the benchmarks they've achieved. And in particular, the influence they've had on a bevy of MCs, from Lupe Fiasco to J.Cole to Kid Cudi, all whom have burrowed from Tribe's rythmic sound and everyman raps.
Tribe's DJ and one of the group's core producers, Ali Shaheed, said he wished there were even more room for acts with that kind of artistic slant.
"There are a lot of people who are bringing a lot of technique and style out there," he said. "Hip-hop is different these days. One thing that's missing is that there used to be a plethora [of diverse acts]. It only feels like just a handful on the mainstream level that's impacting, like Drake, Lupe, Kid Cudi. They each have their own fanbase, which says a lot, that people are opening their minds to follow artists like that. But I would like to see a whole lot more. There was dozens of dozens of groups making an impact when we were out there. It'd be nice to see that again on a mainstream level."
Which up-and-coming MCs most remind you of A Tribe Called Quest? Let us know in the comments!