Saturday, November 9, 2013

midnight marauders

A Tribe Called Quest marauded our ears with the smooth and sophisticated liquid jazz soundscapes of this bewitching hip hop benchmark.  Having made a significant breakthrough with 'The Low End Theory', the trio of  Q-Tip (Jonathan Davis), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Phife Dawg (Malik Taylor) continued to build on their successful sound, co-producing 'Midnight Marauders' with Large Professor and Skeff Anselm.  

Phife considers:   "[Jazz and hip hop] was our meat and potatoes, bread and butter so to speak, whereas other people did other things. A lot of people duplicated certain others, so [the jazz and hip hop element] was our thing. We just wanted to be ourselves and we enjoyed it. I don’t like to call it fusion, but to be able to take jazz and put some hard drums – that’s what we mean when we say hip hop; we’re really talking about drums and so forth."

Mohammed says:   "I think one of the most important aspects of jazz is the improvisation aspects of instrumentation and having these solo moments where the artist is just being free. The relativity to hip hop is when the emcee is just rhyming or freestyling or whatever and it’s just the freeness and the movement that’s unrestricted. What’s their style, what’s their cadence, what’s the rhythm, how’s the movement on top of the movement?"

Q-Tip reveals:    "I always start with the music. I don’t know who said it, but someone said that music is the art form that all other art forms are aspiring to be or trying to be. But I try to let the music set the tone and the pace, because it’s just magic. You have these different harmonies, different melodies, and everything is just intertwined and playin together. It just sets a mood. It sets a tone. And I think it’s interesting for you as a writer if you’re gonna pen the tune. To kinda just come in with no hang-ups and just let the music dictate to you what you’re gonna be or what you’re gonna speak about... It was just like off the top of my head or whatever, so I never really started out writin. It’s always been a relationship with the music where I let the music—I just succumb to it the only way… it’s kinda like I just wait for it. ’Cuz that way it’s different every time that you come to it."

 'Midnight Marauders' went to number seventy in the UK, forty-eight in Canada, eight on the US Billboard 200, and number one on the US R&B/hip hop album chart.

'Award Tour' became the group's biggest hit, going to number forty-seven on the US pop chart and number one on the hot rap singles chart.  It samples "We Gettin' Down" by Weldon Irvine, "Lowdown" by Charles Earland, "Olinga" by Milt Jackson, and "Hobo Scratch" by Malcolm McLaren.

'Electric Relaxation' samples "Mystic Brew" by Ronnie Foster, "Outside Love" by Brethren, and "Dreams" by Ramsey Lewis

'Oh My God' features Busta Rhymes and samples "Who's Gonna Take Weight" by Kool & The Gang, "Why Can't People Be Colors Too?" by The Whatnauts, and "Absolutions" by Lee Morgan.

 'Midnight Marauders' 

full album:

All songs produced by A Tribe Called Quest, except track 4 produced by Skeff Anselm and track 11 produced by Large Professor.

1. "Midnight Marauders Tour Guide"     0:45
2. "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)"     3:11
3. "Award Tour" (featuring Trugoy the Dove)   3:46
4. "8 Million Stories"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Skeff Anselm 4:30
5. "Sucka Nigga"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Freddie Hubbard 4:05
6. "Midnight" (featuring Raphael Wiggins)   3:49
7. "We Can Get Down"     4:19
8. "Electric Relaxation"     4:04
9. "Clap Your Hands"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Bob James, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr., Cyril Neville, Joseph Modeliste 3:16
10. "Oh My God" (featuring Busta Rhymes)   3:29
11. "Keep It Rollin'" (featuring Large Professor) Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Mitchell 3:05
12. "The Chase, Part II"     4:02
13. "Lyrics to Go"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Steve Arrington, Victor Godsey, Buddy Hankerson 4:09

14. "God Lives Through"     4:15

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