Attention To The Detail.

July 26, 2008

A Tribe Called Quest ‘Can I Kick It?’

Filed under: LYRICS STUDY — Tags: — bsfilmworks @ 22:53 pm

Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To all the people who can Quest like A Tribe does
Before this, did you really know what live was?
Comprehend to the track, for it’s why cuz
Gettin measures on the tip of the vibers
Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug
Afrocentric living is a big shrug
A life filled with *HORN* that’s what I love
A lower plateau is what we’re above
If you diss us, we won’t even think of
Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove?
This rhythm really fits like a snug glove
Like a box of positives is a plus, love
As the Tribe flies high like a dove

[Phife Dawg]
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers
Right now, Phife is a poem sayer
At times, I’m a studio conveyor
Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor
Boy this track really has a lot of flavor
When it comes to rhythms, Quest is your savior
Follow us for the funky behavior
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, check your ha-ir
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you’ll savor
Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major
Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air


Originally Posted on 2004/10/26 11:14

February 26, 2008

ATCQ ‘the anthology’ preface

Filed under: LYRICS STUDY — Tags: , — bsfilmworks @ 22:55 pm

You know them. They provided the soundtrack for your life. The beats that guided your tentative, teen-aged hip thrusts against the object of your desire in the darkened corner of a Brooklyn basement party. The rhymes that took your sensibility and world view beyond the stone and asphalt block you called the universe. The words that lent backbone to your game.

You’ve grown older with them. Sometimes you’ve trekked behind them, sometimes along an adjacent path. All of you, all of us, journeymen on this hip-hop road. Seeking meaning and purpose. Faithfully following the flag-holding trio marching along that far-off aesthetic horizon. A-Tip. Phife. Ali. And sometimes Jarobi. A Tribe Called Quest.

For you, there is no group as beloved. Maybe it was their unassuming, everyman nature. The personas that refused to mutate into the 30-second sound-byte, pop-music monsters so prevalent in the manic, media 90′s. Maybe it was their unyielding focus on the art they produced. A steadfastness, a quiet consistency that lent you strength in a world heroes get consumed, icons devoured and today’s philosphy becomes tomorrow’s heresy.

Yet, they did change. But in an organic and stimulating fashion. And you changed right along with them. Growing. Learning. That change is captured here. This album is a narrative of evolution, a collection of the moments that define not only one of the greatest groups in hip-hop history, but you as well. Perhaps you too were caught in that transitional land between teendom and young adulthood when People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm grooved its way into being in 1989. You latched onto its fresh sound, its bohemian sensibility, its subtle nation-building consciousness. It was okay to be young, cheeky and thoughtful-without the hell and brimestone of a PE, or the defiant angst of N.W.A.

In ’91 you watched as they entered the region of the sublime with the splendid, classic The Low End Theory. That record was perhaps the most perfect representation of the burgeoning hip-hop/jazz dalliance. You marveled as its effortless cool, glided in ecstasy to the effervescent bass notes of Ron Carter, and frenetically thrusts your knees and bobbed your heads as “Scenario” cut through the air.

Two years later they reached their finest artistic moment with Midnight Marauders, and you, with the sharp-edged perception of newly-fitted adulthood. knew that this was a work of elegance: the use of jazz samples as breezy sonic textures; the eschewing of sampled drum loops for skillfully programmed percussion. Do you know a hip-hop composition more beautiful than “Electronic Relexation”? An Interplay of beat and soundscape more masterful that the publishing “Lyrics To Go”?

Over the course of the latter 90′s, Tribe grew older and still-with all the implications of the process. 1996′s Beats, Rhymes and Life saw them plunge through spiritual maturation(Q-Tip’s), general disillusionment (Phife) and the irony of competing against the specter of past glory. Then the final opus, ’98′s The Love Movement, served up narratives of love and-tragically for you, for all of us-divorce. At times, you seemed dubious on these two records, unsure where to place them within the Tribe pantheon. But both were finer works than you, or even they, could have appreciated while in the moment. Such is the pathology of fan worship. And the lot of genius.

You may have all, some or none of these images from their decade. But even if the color of your memory is different, the shape remains the same. And the inky figure sketched out in your brain has smattering of red, black and green, and carries a flag along a still far-off horizon. Forever Questing, Forever Tribe.

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds

Brooklyn, NY, 1999

Originally posted on 2005.01.25. 22:55

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