The Love Movement
By: Eric G.
A Tribe Called Quest stormed the rap scene at the start of this decade with People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, an album that showed a level of sophistication on par with De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising. The group’s use of sampling showed its peers how it should be done. Instead of just raiding the played out catalogues of both James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic, A Tribe Called Quest integrated a wide range of music using samples as actual samples and not as the groundwork of its songs- a skill current thieves like Puff Daddy should be forced to learn.
The group’s sophomore effort, The Low End Theory, was yet another breakthrough for the hip-hop community. Its use of jazz and old fifties beats pioneered the onslaught of jazz-based rap. Down to a trio, A Tribe Called Quest’s smooth and subdued vocal style was even more cohesive. The group’s emphasis on humanitarian issues and positivity ran against the grain of hate spewing, gangsta-rap that accounted for the bulk of rap’s ever-increasing record sales.
After these two groundbreaking releases, A Tribe Called Quest seemed to rest on its laurels a bit with Midnight Marauders, which used the same jazzy backdrop as The Low End Theory but without that album’s expansiveness. Beats Rhymes and Life was another lateral move compared to the group’s initial output. The rhymes were still there but the edge wasn’t as sharp.
The Love Movement is A Tribe Called Quest’s fifth and final album and, perhaps, wisely so. This album lacks any real spark or ingenuity. Despite special guests like Busta Rhymes and Redman on “Steppin It Up”, efforts to liven up the pace on The Love Movement fall flat when held up against its predecessors. Compared to other current hip-hop, however, this record is still way ahead of the game. Q-tip, Phife Dog, and Ali Shaheed have all decided to explore other outlets, but their collective imprint on rap music will never be ignored.