Masterpiece Reviews: A Tribe Called Quest – “The Low End Theory”

Revisit this 25-year-old hip-hop classic on today's episode

Welcome to the latest edition of Masterpiece Reviews. Once again, we’ve thrown on our favorite velvet robe, turned up the fire, and are here to regale you with stories of the greatest and most classic albums of all time. It’s a fresh, new perspective on why these albums are filed under “M” for masterpiece.

In 1991, A Tribe Called Quest followed up its seminal debut People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm with The Low End Theory, helping to shape the sound of alternative hip-hop to come. On the back of singles “Scenario”, “Check The Rhime” (which hit number one of the Billboard Hot Rap chart), and “Jazz (We’ve Got)”, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad successfully infused jazz into their sound, a move that would prove influential for the generation of rappers to come. Its ripples could be felt in the later music of Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar, but it was also a success at the time, going on to sell more than a million copies. As for critical acclaim, the record has featured prominently on Best of the 90’s lists from a wealth of major music publications.

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