I definitely prefer the rap and hip-hop artists of the 80s and 90s to the ones we hear today. I regret not being more into the genre back then, because every time I spend a little time with what are now considered throwbacks, I love it.
A Tribe Called Quest released their second album, The Low End Theory, in 1991, to critical raves. The Queens-based trio took hip-hop in a new direction, introducing elements of jazz to their low-tempo sampled beats and call-and-response lyrics. It’s a great sound.
In April of 1991, MTV Unplugeed featured its first rap artists, with LL Cool J, MC Lyte, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest taking the stage backed by a live band.
The performance was hailed as both a breakthrough for the genre and an excellent live set, with most of the kudos going to LL Cool J’s rendition of ‘Mama Said Knock You Out.’ Sadly, that performance is not available on YouTube in the United States.
I’ve heard of A Tribe Called Quest but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard their music. The hip-hop group put out five albums in the 90s before splitting, then reunited last year to release their sixth, titled We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.
The album was very well-received and shows up in the third spot on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll.
The track ‘We the People’ is at #5 on the singles poll (following Rae Sremmurd’s ‘Black Beatles’ at #4).