Our Music Year No. 2: A Tribe Called Quest, ‘The Low End Theory’

By From page A7 | January 02, 2013

Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
Title: “The Low End Theory”
Year: 1991
Grade: A
Format: Spotify

Although this record’s almost old enough to drink, this jazz rap classic is timeless.

Living up to its double entendre title, A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory” dabbles in both laid-back bass grooves as well as numerous songs about trials with the opposite sex.

The pop culture references are dated, – “Skypager” in particular – but if the beats kicked a little harder, it could easily be a modern record. “I got more game than Parker Brothers,” spits Phife Dawg, a phraseology that feels as comfortable in 2013 as it did in ’91.

The guest cast is strong, too, including a breakout performance from a young Busta Rhymes on the album closer, “Scenario.”

“Jazz (We Got)” is a stand out, as reliant on a synth sample as the saxophone.

As a pioneering platter in jazz rap, I can believe the hype about “The Low End Theory.”

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

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