A Tribe Called Quest / Midnight Marauders

I remember being in seventh grade, my dad walking into our apartment on a blistering hot day in 1994 and popping Midnight Marauders into my busted CD-pops-open-from-the-top Panasonic Boombox. From the second the introduction hit with it's laid back lounge music and its bizarre electric lady voice sputtering facts, I was hooked. Even after scratching up my third copy, nothing has even come within reach of the expertly produced, lyrically sublime classic of thirteen years ago. It kicks off with "Steve Biko (Stir it Up)" -- blaring trumpets. And as Phife Dog gets loose with the catchy and oft-bitten "Linden boulevard. Represent, Represent", you can tell that they aren't going to let up. T.I. and Jay-Z have made it a trend to call in ten super-producers in order to create a record, and yet few albums still feel like albums. But Midnight Marauders does it, combining elements of jazz, funk, lounge, Hip-Hop gusto, rich with horn samples, cracking snares, and Hammond organs. "Award Tour" rides catchy chords and hooks while "Electric Relaxation" showcases Tip (as in Q) and Phife's skills with words as they bounce off of each other seamlessly. This record has been so revered, so genre-defining that numerous artists have sampled it, particularly Busta Rhymes' "Oh My God!" tirades and the classic instruction to "keep bouncing" from our anonymous female leader/host. From front to back, this album is perfect. Have a seat on the porch in shorts, drink a glass of ice water, and bullshit with friends without a care in the world.

(Ben Mulhern)

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