Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Tribe Called Quest - 1991 - The Low End Theory

Track Listing:
01. Excursions
02. Buggin' Out
03. Rap Promoter
04. Butter
05. Verses From the Abstract
06. Show Business
07. Vibes and Stuff
08. The Infamous Date Rape
09. Check the Rhime
10. Everything Is Fair
11. Jazz (We've Got)
12. Skypager
13. What?
14. Scenario

From Wikipedia:
"The Low End Theory is the critically acclaimed second album by A Tribe Called Quest, released on September 24, 1991 (see 1991 in music) on Jive Records. With the pairing of Q-Tip and Phife Dawg's lyrics, at turns socially charged, abstract and concretely grounded in reality, with groovy jazz samples, the album includes guests Busta Rhymes, Brand Nubian, Diamond D and Leaders of the New School.

The beats are widely different from the-then about-to-explode G funk sound being pioneered on the West Coast, and shares more of an influence with East Coast artists like Public Enemy. With dominant basslines and sampled jazz horn solos, The Low End Theory has a distinctive sound that met the high expectations after their critically acclaimed debut People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The Low End Theory includes instrumental work from several pioneering musicians, including upright bassist Ron Carter ("Verses from the Abstract"). The Low End Theory ranked #154 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, ranked #32 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s", and was the album of the year for Spex magazine (also #10 on the 100 Albums of the Century). more awards. It also made it onto the unordered Top 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time (The Source), 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century (Vibe magazine) and Essential Recordings of the 90s (Rolling Stone).

The Low End Theory became a watershed album in the history of hip hop. The album established alternative rap as a definable genre, distinguished by aware, often abstract or political lyrics, and a light-hearted sense of humor, along with jazz and other unusual sampling sources. The Low End Theory transformed alternative hip hop, leading the way from the jazzy pioneers like De La Soul towards future artists like Common and The Roots. The song "Scenario" helped break future hip hop star Busta Rhymes into the mainstream, partially as a result of its popular music video on MTV. Some sources, such as Angus Crawford of, say that "Scenario" is the best posse cut ever.[1] Phife Dawg, who fans thought of as adequate but nothing special on the first album, greatly improved his style on this album. This amazing turn-around is highly respected in Hip-Hop circles. Songs like "Buggin' out" and "Butter" showcased Phife's new confidence.

Topics include the music industry's exploitation of musicians ("Rap Promoter", "Show Business"), music ("Excursions"), date rape ("The Infamous Date Rape"), violence in hip hop ("Vibes and Stuff") and the beauty of jazz ("Jazz (We've Got)").

In 2006, the album was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time."