Album Review | A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

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This album was released September 24th in 1991. It’s supposed to be one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time, so I’m expecting this to be dope af. I’m pretty sure it’s A Tribe Called Quest’s most popular project. Also, the album cover is dope af. Most of A Tribe Called Quest’s covers are really cool tho. I’ve only heard one song from this project. There’s probably a lot that could be said about this album before I listen to it, but I kinda just wanna go ahead and dive into it right away. All tracks are produced by A Tribe Called Quest, except where noted.

Track 1: Excursions

Oh shit I probably should’ve mentioned that Jarobi White left the group before this album came out. He ended up returning later tho. I know this is kinda fucked up to say, but I don’t really give a shit. I’m listening to this shit for Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Phife Dawg & Q-Tip. That goes without saying tho. Alright, it’s starting now. Q-Tip’s goin’ in. Yes. This beat is dope af. Tip’s flow already sounds a lot more interesting on this track than it was on People’s Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm. He killed that first verse. The hook is nice too. Oh. Tip’s goin’ in on the second verse again. Is this a solo Q-Tip track? Man… I really thought Phife would have a much bigger role. This is only the intro track. I know he’s supposed to have more of a presence on this album than he had on the previous LP. The second verse was great. “Beats that are hard, beats that are funky / They could get you hooked like a crackhead junkie / What you gotta do is know the Tribe is in the sphere / The Abstract Poet, prominent like Shakespeare.” Q-Tip killed this shit. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Buggin’ Out

This beat is dope. It’s really smooth. Alright, Phife’s goin’ in on the first verse. He sounds great over this beat. Gotdamn. Lmao. That was dope af. His flow was really dope. You can tell he’s actually writing his own shit for this album. He doesn’t have the same exact flow as Q-Tip anymore. “Yo, microphone check one, two, what is this? / The five foot assassin with the roughneck business.” He killed it. Tip’s verse was really dope too. The hook is actually really catchy. The third verse from Phife was nice. Q-Tip killed that last verse too. This is another great song. The beat is smooth as hell, the hook is catchy, and each verse is great. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 3: Rap Promoter

This beat is cool. Q-Tip’s on the first verse. His flow was kinda underwhelming, but he still did his thing. There’s no hook. There’s just an interlude between the first and second verses. This is another solo Q-Tip track. I liked the second verse better than the first one, but it still wasn’t that great. It was good tho. I definitely enjoyed this song. It just doesn’t stand out that much. Nothing about it is really on that next level of dopeness. It’s just good. Not great. I really liked the outro tho. Anyway, I fuck with this song. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 4: Butter

Oh shitfuck. This beat is dope af. Phife Dawg’s on the first verse. He’s rapping about how he could get any girl he wanted in high school ’cause he was smoove like butter. His flow was dope. This beat is amazing. Phife sounds perfect over it. Tip’s on the hook. It’s pretty good. This subject matter isn’t particularly interesting to me, but I think Phife’s doing a good job with it. Also, this track is so good sonically that I can’t not fuck with it. Q-Tip’s only on the hook. Phife is goin’ in on the second verse right now. I actually really like this second verse. “You looked in the mirror, didn’t know what to do / Yesterday your eyes were brown, but today they are blue / Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true / And if you really liked yourself then you would try and be you.” He’s roasting the fuck outta this fake ass chick. I’ll always give points to rappers who roast people who don’t know how to be themselves. This is actually probably my favorite song on the whole album so far. The beat is fantastic, and I liked what Phife did with this track. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 5: Verses From The Abstract Feat. Vinia Mojica & Ron Carter

Oh. Oh shit. This beat is smoooooother than a MOTHERfucker. As you probably could’ve predicted from the title, this is a solo Q-Tip track. If I’m not mistaken, Vinia Mojica & Ron Carter helped with some of the instrumentation. Hahaha. “Once had a fetish; fetish for some booty.” That line made me laugh for some reason… It reminded me of this…

raw

The first verse was dope. Q-Tip’s flow has definitely improved since the last album, but it still sounds kinda simplistic to me. It’s not that bad tho. There are some female background vocals during the hook. Maybe that’s Vinia Mojica. I don’t know. Oh yeah. He just confirmed in the second verse that it was indeed Vinia Mojica in the background. The second verse was really dope. I fuck with this song. The beat is great, and Q-Tip did his thing. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 6: Show Business Feat. Diamond D, Lord Jamar & Sadat X (Prod. Skeff Anselm)

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of Diamond D before, but I’m not familiar with his music. Actually, I guess the same thing can be said about Lord Jamar & Sadat X. Obviously I know more about Lord Jamar from his interviews with DJ Vlad than from his work with Brand Nubian. Alright, this track is starting now. Q-Tip’s on the first verse. He did his thing. It was short. I guess they’re gonna be rapping about the negative side of being famous. The hook’s dope. Okay, Lord Jamar is going in now. His verse was actually really dope. I should probably check out Brand Nubian’s discography… Damn. Phife’s flow on this fourth verse is dope af. He killed it. Sadat X has kind of a weird flow. I liked his verse tho. Diamond D’s verse at the end was nice too. This is really dope. I wasn’t crazy about the beat from Skeff Anselm, but each MC kept things interesting. I fuck with this track. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 7: Vibes & Stuff

Goddamn… The production on this whole album is so fucking smooth. This is definitely one of my favorite beats from this album so far. The first verse from Q-Tip is really dope. Phife comes in right behind him on the second verse. Apparently his entire verse was a freestyle. That’s pretty impressive. His verse was dope. There’s a short break after the second verse. Now Q-Tip’s goin’ in again. He did his thing on the final verse. Hmm… I kinda don’t know whether I should give this a 4 or a 5. I really liked the beat, and the verses were dope. The structure is very simplistic tho. There’s not a lot going on. Yeah… I think I’m gonna play it safe and just call this dope. I fuck with this track. Nothing really pushed it to the next level tho. 4/5

Track 8: The Infamous Date Rape

Huh… This should be interesting I guess… Ooooohhhh FUCK. This beat is incredible. Gotdamn. Okay. THIS is definitely my favorite beat on the album so far. Q-Tip’s verse wasn’t bad. I’m pretty sure he was just rapping about how sometimes girls just aren’t in the mood for sex, and you should just accept that. Phife rapped about how a girl he smashed accused him of rape. The final verse from Q-Tip was nice too. This is actually a really dope song. I wasn’t really sure how I was gonna feel about this when I read the title. Actually, they didn’t even really rap about date rape. I mean, I guess they kinda referenced it a few times. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I really fuck with this song. It’s dope af. Especially that beat. The beat is amazing. 5/5

Track 9: Check The Rhime

check-the-rhime

WHHHHAAAAAAAAT THA FUCK. OH MY GAWT. THIS FUCKING BEAT IS INCREDIBLE. HAHAHA. YES. Wow. It honestly sounds like there was a lot more work put into this beat than any of the other ones. This one sounds the most different. Phife & Tip are tradin’ bars on the first verse. This is dope af. Oh shit… I’ve heard this beat before. The way the first verse transitioned into Phife’s solo verse was really fucking smooth. His verse was great. The hook from Q-Tip is smooth as hell too. Yes. This is easily my favorite song on the album so far. Q-Tip’s verse starts the same way Phife’s verse started. His verse was great. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 10: Everything Is Fair (Prod. Skeff Anselm)

I’m not crazy about this hook. The beat’s cool tho. Q-Tip’s on the first verse. He did his thing. I don’t know… I’m not really enjoying this that much. It’s not really bad tho. I really don’t like this hook. The beat’s actually not that good either. It’s fine tho. Oh. This is a solo Q-Tip track. It just ended. Yeah… Nah… I’m sorry y’all. This really isn’t a bad song. I just don’t really think it’s that good either. Nothing about this track really stands out to me at all. The beat is decent. The hook kinda sucks. Tip’s verses were cool. I never wanna listen to this song again, but it’s not bad. It’s just not good to me. 3/5

Track 11: Jazz (We’ve Got)

jazz

This beat is smooth as fuck. I guess that’s to be expected considering this track’s title. The first verse from Tip was dope af. Good lord. This is so fucking smooth. This is probably the smoothest track I’ve ever heard from A Tribe Called Quest. Well, up to this point in their discography at least. The hook is really dope. Phife’s verse was great. Q-Tip’s goin’ in again on the final verse. The horns in the background sound so fucking good. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album so far. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 12: Skypager

This beat is really dope. Tip’s on the first verse. Huh. He’s rapping about pagers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pager in real life. Actually, I’m not even completely sure what a pager is… Lemme look this shit up real quick… Oh, okay. So basically it was a super inconvenient way of sending text messages. Awesome. Wow. This is a really outdated song. The beat’s good tho. It’s just really uninteresting lyrically. I honestly don’t know if I’d ever come back to this. I actually don’t think I would. The beat’s cool, and their flows weren’t bad, but… I don’t know. It’s just not that good to me. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 13: What?

This beat’s not bad. Q-Tip’s goin’ in now. This is cool. I think this whole song is just gonna be one long ass verse from him. It’s probably another solo track too. “What’s Clark Kent without a telephone booth? / What is a liquor if it ain’t 80 proof? / What are the youth if they ain’t rebellin’? / What’s Ralph Kramden, if he ain’t yellin’?” Damn near every line starts the same way. Woah. He just kinda dissed Chris Lighty. Well, I don’t know if it’s actually a diss. He kinda just said that Chris Lighty was childish. The song just ended. This is a cool track. It’s not super impressive or mind blowing, but I enjoyed it. This is dope. 4/5

Track 14: Scenario Feat. Leaders Of The New School

scenario

Alright, here we go. This is what it was all for. Well, that’s actually not true at all. I’ve really been looking forward to checking out this song in particular tho. I’ve heard it on the radio a few times, but I was never really paying attention. I only remember the hook. It’s starting now. Oh yeah I remember this beat. The hook is legendary. Phife’s on the first verse. Oh yeah I remember this shit. Hahaha. How could I forget this legendary line? “Bust a nut inside your eye to show you where I come from.” His verse was dope af. What the fuck? Why does Charlie Brown’s voice sound so much deeper on this second verse? Am I trippin’ right now? Has his voice always been this deep? Maybe I just wasn’t remembering correctly… Actually yeah. I remember now. His voice isn’t that high. It’s just those annoying ass ad-libs that he has. Dinco D’s on the third verse. Damn. He killed that shit. Q-Tip did his thing on the fourth verse. Alright, here we go. Busta’s about to kill it. Yesss. He fuckin’ ripped that shit apart. “RAOR ROAR like a dungeon dragon.” I love that shit. He fuckin’ spazzed on this shit. If I had to rank the verses, I’d definitely put Busta first, then Dinco D, then Phife, then Q-Tip, then Charlie Brown. They all had dope verses tho. This is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

Yeah… This album is incredible. It’s just super consistent. Damn near every beat is smoother than a motherfucker, and there’s not a single wack verse on this album. This album has one of the dopest collections of beats I’ve ever heard. It was really nice to hear more verses from Phife Dawg too. Especially since he started writing his own shit. His verses were awesome. It’s not hard to understand why this is considered one of the greatest albums of all time. If you think about all the music that came before this, and then look at how music changed after it was released, its influence is pretty obvious. It’s not only current artists like Kendrick Lamar. Even artists like Outkast were obviously inspired by this album. It’s also got one of the best posse cuts of all time as its outro, so that definitely helps. There really aren’t any consistent flaws with this album. It’s dope af.

Favorite Song: Scenario

Least Favorite Song: Everything Is Fair

Verdict:

90%

90-95

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One comment

  1. TLET marked the incline of Tribe and universal crossover appeal. Favorite joints are Scenario, Smooth, Check The Rhime and Vibes & Stuff most definitely.

    Sidenotes: Concerning Brand Nubian, their discography is a bit hit or miss at least in my personal opinion. Pagers were usually used by stock brokers, D-Boy’s and Celebs/musicians. If you wanna hear a song about the negative effects of date rape then I recommend Sublime’s song “Date Rape” from their debut which dropped around the same time as Low End Theory.

    Good job

    Liked by 1 person

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