Wednesday, May 11, 2005

...wandering tribesmen...

Today I'm bringing to your attention the somewhat overlooked solo projects from two members of A Tribe Called Quest. Most of us of a particular age and ethnicity found certain rap albums commanding a lot of space in our rotation during the late 80's and early 90's. While I will say that the first rap tape I bought was Ice-T's 'Power', I still owned and spun De La, the J.B.'s, and Tribe quite often. ATCQ's first album 'People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm' featured the four original members, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi. Somewhere between this and their second, 'The Low End Theory', they lost Jarobi, and continued with this line-up until their eventual breakup in 1998. The current update is that they've reformed (all four members) and are playing select dates and one-off's. I won't give you my opinion on the varied quality of their 5 studio albums, nor have I heard if this reformation is returning them to anywhere near their early genius. Regardless, during those 7 years downtime, all four stayed in the music biz. We all know what Q-Tip vivranted about in his semi-successful attempt at crossing over, but it was the underrated and virtually unknown solo releases by Phife Dawg and Q-Tip's alterego Kamaal The Abstract that should have made them more than footnotes to the ATCQ biography. The Five-Footer's album 'Ventilation: Da LP" was released in 2000 and went almost double-wood. Even worse, Q-Tip's Kamaal project was recorded around the same time and Arista has still not released it. To try to remedy this perceived slight, I've posted a track from each to whet your appetite. (By the way, both Jarobi and Ali Shaheed have released solo work during this downtime, so search around.)

Phife Dawg
Lemme Find Out feat. Pete Rock
Ventilation: Da LP
Groove Attack

Kamaal The Abstract
Kamaal The Abstract


Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice work. i read about ATCQ show down in New Orleans that made it sound like it was the most important thing in years. Low End Theroy still gets listened to in my house, but somehow i doubt seeing them live now would be worth $30

5/11/2005 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Tip,
Whats wrong with snails?

5/13/2005 10:34 AM  

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