Album Review | A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm

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This album was released on April 17th in 1990. I’m starting the A Tribe Called Quest Marathon now. I should’ve done this a long time ago. I’m also gonna be doing the discography of Leaders Of The New School & the solo discographies of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg & Busta Rhymes. I’m not really as familiar with A Tribe Called Quest as I should be. Everything I’ve ever heard from them was on that collaborative mixtape that Q-Tip & Busta Rhymes dropped back in 2013. Oh, I’ve also heard Can I Kick It? That’s pretty much it tho. Everything else is completely new to me. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve ever heard from A Tribe Called Quest, so this is gonna be a lot of fun. I probably wouldn’t have done this marathon until 2017 if they hadn’t just dropped their last album. I really wanna listen to that shit now tho, so I gotta get through everything else first. I’m expecting this to be great. According to Wikipedia, “all tracks are produced by A Tribe Called Quest.” I thought everything was just handled by Ali Shaheed Muhammad, but I guess that just means that the other members helped out a little bit. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

Track 1: Push It Along

Alright, here we go… It’s starting now. Oh shit… Okay… The way this shit starts is really… I don’t know. It’s just a really good way to open the album up. You can tell this is the intro just by listening to it. It actually sounds kinda creepy. It’s like this dark ambient music with a baby crying… Okay, the beat just came on for real. Oh shitfuckk… This shit is smoooooooth as FUCK. Q-Tip is on the first verse. His flow is smooth as hell. The first verse was great. The hook is very simple, but it works. Phife just spit an 8 bar verse. Now Tip is goin’ in again. Damn. His flow is so fucking smooth. He’s also on the final verse. I’m gonna be honest… I’m not really sure what Jarobi does. Maybe he’s a co-producer? I gotta look this shit up. Huh… Okay, there’s an entire article on Slate called What Exactly Does Jarobi White, the Mysterious Fourth Member of A Tribe Called Quest, Actually Do? I just read it, and I’m still not sure what the answer to that question is… It seems like he’s just some guy that’s always there for some reason. I guess he’s kinda like the mascot… That’s cool I guess. Anyway, the final verse from Q-Tip was really dope. The song just ended. Yeah. That was great. This was a really good way to start the album. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Luck Of Lucien

Hmm… This beat sounds really familiar. It kinda reminds me of the beat from Little Death by Lupe Fiasco. Maybe they share a sample. I don’t know. Q-Tip’s goin’ in on the first verse. I’m not really sure what’s he’s rapping about. It sounds like he’s rapping about a French immigrant. Oh. Okay, apparently this song is about a French rapper named Lucien Revolucien who was associated with Afrika Bambaataa. That’s cool I guess. I know I’ve already said this, but seriously Q-Tip’s flow is smooth as fuck. The song just ended. The structure is very simple. It’s just three verses with a short break between each one. This is pretty much just a solo Q-Tip song. I’m not super blown away by it, but I definitely enjoyed it. This is dope. 4/5

Track 3: After Hours

This beat is dope af. Q-Tip’s goin’ in on the first verse. Man… I don’t even know why, but I’m REALLY enjoying this one. I might actually like this track even more than the intro. The hook’s nothing special, but it’s not bad. It’s just some record scratches and a sample of Richard Pryor saying “After hours it was cool.” Q-Tip’s also on the second verse. This is probably gonna be another solo track from him. I thought Phife would have a much larger presence on this album. The second verse was pretty good. Huh. You know, I was REALLY enjoying this song at first, but I’m not really that impressed right now. I mean, I definitely like it. I just don’t think it’s super amazing. The intro is definitely still my favorite song on this album so far. This is still dope to me tho. I like it more than the previous track. 4/5

Track 4: Footprints

Oh fuck. Oh FUCK. This beat is fucking dope af. Yes. This is definitely my favorite beat on the whole album so far. Oh fuuuuck. When that fucking bass comes in GOTDAMN. Q-Tip is rappin’ his fucking ass off right now too. This is already my favorite track on the album so far. He killed that first verse. I just listened to this song like 5 times in a row. It’s another solo Q-Tip track with a very simplistic structure. The fucking production is on point tho, and Q-Tip killed it. There’s not much more to say than that. It’s just a really good song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 5: I Left My Wallet In El Segundo


This was A Tribe Called Quest’s second single ever. I’ve heard about this song, but I’ve never actually listened to it. It’s starting now. Hmmm… This sample sounds really familiar. I feel like I’ve heard the original song before. The hook is very simplistic, but it works. Okay, this is actually pretty awesome. I guess the story itself isn’t really that interesting. I’m really enjoying it for some reason. It’s kinda just making me excited for my upcoming road trip with my friends to Asheville. The song just ended. This song is kinda ridiculous. If you were to ask me if I wanted to hear a story about how Q-Tip lost his wallet, I of course would have said no. It’s not exactly the most engaging topic for a song. It kinda just works tho. I don’t really know why I enjoyed this so much. I don’t give a fuck about Q-Tip’s wallet. This was an entertaining song tho. I guess songs in which a story is being told are just easier for me to enjoy. I don’t know. This is dope to me. It’s kinda silly. I like it tho. 4/5

Track 6: Pubic Enemy


Uh oh… PUBIC Enemy? What?? Yeah… Nah… I don’t think I’m gonna like this one… Well, I guess I shouldn’t judge this song by its title. It’s starting now. This beat is dope. I’m not in love with Q-Tip’s flow on this one. It’s not bad tho. Oh God… He’s rapping about some girl who just got an STD. “Suddenly she’s been distracted / By something that has been attracted / She poked and poked and smacked at it / Then she broke down and she scratched it.” Umm… I don’t really know how to feel about this. It’s not really something that I’m enjoying personally. I don’t really think it’s bad tho. This is definitely my least favorite song so far. The second verse was fine I guess. I’m already tired of this beat. Nah… Yeah, I’m not really feelin’ this one. This is kinda… I don’t know. Well, I DO know. This kinda sucks to me. I mean, it’s not THAT bad, but… It kinda is. It’s not trash. It’s just… It’s just really NOT good to me. I don’t know if I feel comfortable calling it wack. It’s definitely not dope to me tho. 3/5

Track 7: Bonita Applebum


So far Phife Dawg has only rapped 8 bars on this whole album. Where the fuck is he? I thought he would have just as many verses as Q-Tip. Anyway, this track was A Tribe Called Quest’s third single. I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be one of their most popular songs. I’ve never heard it tho. It’s starting now. Oh shit… I’ve definitely heard this hook before. This beat sounds really familiar too. It’s dope af. Hmm… Maybe I HAVE heard this song before. I don’t know. The subject matter isn’t really interesting to me personally, but I’m enjoying it sonically. This is definitely one of the better beats on the album in my opinion. Q-Tip’s voice sounds perfect over it too. His flow is really reserved and smooth. It just ended. Phife Dawg is still nowhere to be found. Again, I’m not really into this song lyrically, but it’s so good sonically that I don’t even mind the uninteresting content. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 8: Can I Kick It?

Alright HERE we go. I’m pretty sure this is gonna end up as my favorite song from the album. I fucking love this track. It’s got one of those classic beats that you can recognize even if you don’t know the song. My first time hearing it was very similar to my first time hearing NY State Of Mind by Nas. I was like “Oh shit; A Tribe Called Quest made this song? This is a Hip Hop song?” This beat is incredible. The hook is really iconic too. Q-Tip did his thing on the first verse. Phife finally returned for this track. God, this is such a good song. I love Phife’s voice. I really wish he had more verses on this album. His verse was dope. Hmm… I’m gonna have to listen to Footsteps a few more times just to confirm that this is indeed my favorite track. It’s definitely dope af tho. 5/5

Track 9: Youthful Expression

Damn. Apparently Q-Tip wrote every single verse on this album, including Phife’s verses. Phife didn’t start writing his own shit until the next album. That’s kinda interesting. I guess… Anyway, this beat is really dope. Q-Tip did his thing on the first verse. Damn. This is really fucking smooth. Q-Tip sounds perfect over this production. I just listened to the whole song. The structure is very simplistic. It’s just two verses from Q-Tip with a short break in the middle. I fucking LOVE the piano outro tho. It sounds fucking amazing. I kinda wish this was the original loop that Q-Tip rapped over… This is still a really dope track tho. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 10: Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)

Lol. Butts. OH SHITFUCK. This beat is dope af. The first verse from Tip was nice. The hook is actually really dope too. The second verse was great. Man… I just listened to the whole song. I don’t even know what to say about this one. It’s just a really fucking good song. There’s not really anything that I don’t like about this track. I’m honestly starting to get kinda tired of Q-Tip’s flow, but that’s not really a big deal. Everything else about this song is awesome. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 11: Mr. Muhammad

This beat is dope. Q-Tip’s goin’ in on the first verse. He did his thing. I’m enjoying this song, but it’s just another dope track so far. Nothing about it is really blowing me away. It’s dope tho. Oh shit, Phife’s actually going in now. I guess it’s pretty obvious that Q-Tip wrote his verses. He’s using the exact same flow that Q-Tip’s been using throughout this entire album. It’s nice to hear his voice tho. He did his thing. I like this song. I just don’t really have a lot to say about it. Nothing about it really stands out. I definitely like it tho. It’s a good track. It’s just not overly memorable. I fuck with it tho. Actually… Hmmm… You know, I really don’t know… I enjoyed this, but I don’t know if I would ever have the desire to listen to it again. There’s pretty much no replay value for me. It’s definitely not a bad song. I’m just not really into it that much personally. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 12: Ham N Eggs

Hmm… This hook is kinda… Weird. “I don’t eat no ham n’ eggs ’cause they’re high in cholesterol.” Am I about to listen to a song about how ham & eggs are bad for you? Awesome. The first verse is starting now. Oh shit. Phife & Tip are actually tradin’ bars right now. This is dope. Oh my God… This is fucking crazy lmao. “Asparagus tips look yummy, yummy, yummy / Candied yams inside my tummy / A collage of good eats, some snacks or nice treats / Apple sauce and some nice red beets.” This shit… I don’t even know what to say. It’s like this was specifically made for children who have bad eating habits. I’m enjoying it. It’s just different. I mean… I really don’t know. I didn’t think I’d ever hear a song about something like this outside the context of a children’s TV show. I’m actually enjoying this tho. The scratches after the second recital of the hook are dope af. Man… This is bizarre… It’s dope tho. I love the outro too. This is really dope. I fuck with this one. 4/5

Track 13: Go Ahead In The Rain

OOOOHHHHHH FUCKKKK. This fucking beat is amazing. This is definitely one of the best beats on the whole album. Ali put his ASS into this one. The first verse from Q-Tip was nice. The second verse was really dope too. I enjoyed Q-Tip’s work on this song, but I’m honestly way more impressed with what Ali did. The beat is dope af. Q-Tip did his thing too tho. Nothing he said was really that impressive to me. It was cool tho. I enjoyed it. There’s not really a hook. The structure is very simplistic, just like most of the other tracks. It’s just two verses. It’s a good track. I’m not completely in love with it. I AM completely in love with the beat, but I’m really starting to get tired of Q-Tip’s flow. It’s still a really dope song tho. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 14: Description Of A Fool


This was A Tribe Called Quest’s very first single. It’s starting now. The beat’s pretty dope. The first verse from Q-Tip was cool. Damn… He actually murdered that second verse. That was probably his best verse on the whole album to be honest. He finally kinda switched up his flow. He sounded great. Oh. Okay, the song’s pretty much over now. There’s a LONG ass instrumental outro. The beat keeps going for like two whole minutes before the track actually ends. I don’t really mind it that much tho. The beat is really dope. Maybe Phife should’ve spit something… Eh. Whatever. I fuck with this track. I don’t know if I would’ve chosen it as an outro, but it’s still a good song. 4/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is great. I think it’s a flawed project, but there isn’t a single track on here that I actually think is bad. There are just a handful of tracks that stand out a lot more than others. The production is pretty great for the most part. I definitely would’ve liked to hear more from Phife Dawg, but I guess if he wasn’t writing his own verses at the time it probably wouldn’t have really made much of a difference. I think my main gripe with this album is Q-Tip’s repetitive flow. He used pretty much the same flow throughout this entire album. That would’ve been bad enough, but even the verses that he wrote for Phife had that same flow. It was really simplistic, and it honestly just got kinda boring after a while. It was never bad enough to ruin a song. I just hope it improves more for later projects. I’m sure it did improve. His flow on Thank You by Busta Rhymes was insane, but that came out in 2013 I think, so I don’t know how long it took him to get to that point. Phife started writing his own shit after this album, so I’m looking forward to future projects. This album is great tho. I know these final thoughts seem very critical, but I still really loved this album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Footprints

Least Favorite Song: Pubic Enemy




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  1. most fun tribe album fs. seriously one of those really fun albums where you don’t take to much shit seriously

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