Album Review | A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders

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This album was released on November 9th in 1993. As far as I know, I’ve only ever heard one song from this album, but it’s my favorite song from A Tribe Called Quest. Well, I haven’t even heard the original version. I’ve only heard the remix of God Lives Through with Busta Rhymes; it was on that mixtape from 2013 called The Abstract & The Dragon. That song is fucking incredible. That’s still my favorite A Tribe Called Quest song. I hope the other tracks are as good as that shit. I fucking love that song. Anyway, I’m expecting this album to be dope af. This was their last classic album, and some people think it’s even better than The Low End Theory. I hope I end up feeling the same way. Every song is produced by A Tribe Called Quest, except where noted.

Track 1: Midnight Marauders Tour Guide

Oh okay… I’ve never heard this album, but I know a song by Logic called Common Logic / The Midnight Marauder. It has that same voice in the background. Actually, I’m pretty sure Logic got the idea of having Thalia narrate all his albums from this project. That’s kinda interesting I guess. The production on this track sounds really fucking smooth. I think I’m gonna love this album.

Track 2: Steve Biko (Stir It Up)

Phife’s on the first verse. Ooooooh fuuuck. YES. OH FUCK. YESSS!!!!!! Okay, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like this album more than The Low End Theory. This beat is fucking incredible. I have the biggest fucking grin on my face right now. Haha. I’m so happy. This beat is smooth as FUCK. Oh shit? Phife Dawg is Trinidadian? That’s cool. That’s probably the only thing we have in common. His verse was fantastic. My knee is really itchy right now, and I don’t know why. Man… I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m enjoying this track way more than anything that was on The Low End Theory. This is amazing. Q-Tip’s verse was awesome. “Here we go; you know that I’m the rebel / Throwing out the wicked like God did the devil / Funky like your grandpa’s draw’s, don’t test me / We in like that, you’re dead like Presley.” I think his flow sounds a lot smoother on this song than it did on the previous two albums too. The hook is dope. God. This song is fucking incredible. The final two verses were great. Q-Tip killed that last verse. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 3: Award Tour Feat. Trugoy The Dove

award-tour

Well, that was a really fucking good way to start the album, and I already know it ends with an amazing song too. Hopefully the entire album is that good. Good lord. I fucking love the production on this album. The first two albums were really jazzy, but this sounds more… I don’t know… I don’t know how to describe it. It’s really smooth, but it sounds… When I listen to the beats on this album I feel like I’m strolling through a nice city at dusk, and there are a bunch of fruit stands everywhere. This Trugoy guy is on the hook. Oh. His name is “yogurt” backwards. Oh shit… That’s Dave. The guy from De La Soul. Shit. I forgot his name used to Trugoy. That’s cool that he’s on this album. The hook is great. Hmm… I’m pretty sure that’s the third time they shouted out North Carolina. Maybe one of them has family in NC or something. This beat is fucking incredible. The first verse from Q-Tip was dope. Phife killed that last verse too. Yes. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 4: 8 Million Stories (Prod. Skeff Anselm)

God the production on this fucking album is immaculate. This beat makes me feel like I’m cruising down a street at 6 PM in the middle of winter and there’s snow everywhere. Phife’s on the first verse. He’s just rapping about a bunch of shitty things that happened to him. He’s got some really bad luck. Oh gawd. Apparently his date stood him up, and he just said he’s “gonna smack her up.” I guess a lot of old school rappers felt comfortable rapping about beating women. That Biggie line from Me & My Bitch comes to mind whenever I think about domestic violence. The first verse was dope. The hook isn’t bad. Oh shit. Phife’s goin’ in again. I guess this is a solo Phife Dawg song. Is this the first solo Phife Dawg song to be on any of ATCQ’s albums? It’s definitely the first solo Phife Dawg song that I actually like. It’s my least favorite song on the album so far, but I’m definitely enjoying it. The beat is fantastic, and the verses were dope too. I fuck with this track. That outro was way too fucking long tho… 4/5

Track 5: Sucka Nigga

This sample from Wild Style on the intro sounds really good. Ooooooh fucking LORD. Y’ALL… This proDUCTION!!! This beat is fucking incredible. Good fucking God. This is awesome. Q-Tip is goin’ in on the first verse. He’s rapping about how the N word has been transformed into a term of endearment by the black community. Meh. I still don’t think it should be used. I’m not gonna complain if a black person calls me it. I’d really rather not hear it from anyone tho. “Now the little shorties say it all of the time / And a whole bunch of niggas throw the word in they rhyme / Yo, I start to flinch as I try not to say it / But my lips is like the oowop as I start to spray it.” This is really fucking dope. Man… I’m not gonna lie; the way he repeats the N word during the hook really makes me flinch. You’d think I’d be used to it since I listen to so much Hip Hop. That’s not really something I feel like I should have to get used to tho. Whatever. I kinda wish he didn’t say it so much, but I’m not gonna take off points from this song for that. I still really enjoyed this track. It’s dope af. Oh, it’s also a solo Q-Tip song by the way. I probably should’ve mentioned that earlier… Wait… What? What the fuck? Why? WHY? Why did they do this? The same verse is repeating… There’s only one verse, but it repeats twice… Why didn’t he just spit another verse? Or… Why didn’t Phife spit a verse? I hate when rappers do this shit. ODB did it on his debut album. Nobody wants to listen to the same fucking verse more than once in the same fucking song. Jesus Christ. What the fuck were they thinking. Okay, I’m sorry, but I HAVE to take off points for that. That’s fucking ridiculous. I still like the song. They almost completely ruined this shit for me tho… 4/5

Track 6: Midnight Feat. Raphael Saadiq

Oh my fucking lord. I can’t believe how fucking incredible the production on this album is. This is so fucking dope. Tip’s on the first verse. He’s telling a story about some kid in the ghetto. Nothing that interesting has happened yet. He lost a dice game, ate a delicious gyro, picked up some girl, smoked with his friend, got patted down by the police, and then started playing basketball with some random people at the park. That’s all that happened in the first verse. It was dope. Oh shit. This is another solo Q-Tip track. That’s cool I guess. It would’ve been nice to hear Phife spit on this track, but Tip held it down on his own. I’m not really sure what Raphael Saadiq did. I didn’t hear him. Maybe he helped with the production or something. Whatever. I really fuck with this track. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 7: We Can Get Down

This beat is dope. The hook isn’t bad. Phife’s on the first verse. He killed it. “Not every MC be with the negativity / We have a slew of rappers pushing positivity / Hip hop will never die, yo; it’s all about the rap / So Mayor Barry smoking crack, let’s preach about that.” Q-Tip’s verse was great too. This is a really dope song. I don’t have anything interesting to say about it tho. It’s got a pretty straightforward structure. The beat is nice, the hook is cool, and the verses are great. I definitely fuck with this track. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 8: Electric Relaxation

electric-relaxation

I know this is supposed to be one of A Tribe Called Quest’s most popular singles, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard it. Maybe it’ll sound familiar once I actually start listening to it. Alright, here we go. Ooooooohhhhhh shit… Of course… Hahaha. Wow. Yeah, I’ve heard this beat before. This shit has been sampled countless times. The most obvious case was when J. Cole sampled it for that underwhelming Forbidden Fruit track. Jeremih also used it for Keep It Movin’. Anyway, this beat is incredible. I’ll definitely take this original version over the J. Cole & Jeremih songs. The hook is dope. Q-Tip’s goin’ in first. Phife Dawg came through to spit some shit in the middle of his verse. This is really fucking dope. This is just a super smooth track about Phife & Tip tryna get some girl. I could’ve done without this line from Phife tho… “Let me hit it from the back, girl, I won’t catch a hernia / Bust off on your couch, now you got Seaman’s Furniture.” This song is fantastic. The beat is legendary, and the verses were smooth as hell. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 9: Clap Your Hands

Hmmm… I know I’ve heard this beat before too… I can’t remember what track sampled it tho. Was it a Freddie Gibbs song? Oh shit yeah… The beat from Extradite by Freddie Gibbs sounds really similar to this. I don’t know if it’s exactly the same, but it kinda sounds like it. Oh SHIIIT… The beat only sounded like Extradite for the intro. It switched up once Phife started rhymin’ and this shit is SMOOOOTHER than a MOTHERfucker. This album has some of the best production I’ve ever heard. God. This is better than sex. The fucking scratches on the hook are fantastic too. Gotdamn. This is incredible. The first verse was great. Q-Tip’s flow has really improved a lot. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album so far. Q-Tip’s verse was really good. This track is dope af. 5/5

Track 10: Oh My God Feat. Busta Rhymes

oh-my-god

I’ve really been looking forward to this track. I’m a huge Busta Rhymes fan, and after that show-stopping performance on The Low End Theory, I’m sure he knew he had to come right on this track too. This song was also sampled in my favorite A Tribe Called Quest song, God Lives Through. Alright, it’s starting now. This beat is dope. Tip did his thing on the first verse. Phife came in right behind him. His verse was great too. “Some brothers try to diss, but Malik, you see ’em bitching / Me no care about them dibby MC, my shit is hitting / Trini gladiator, anti-hesitater / Shaheed push the fader from here to Grenada.” The hook is just Busta yelling “OH MY GAWD” 8 times. That’s the line that ended up getting sampled for God Lives Through. Q-Tip’s goin’ in again. This verse was only 8 bars long. Wait… What… What the fuck? Busta… Busta only did the hook? Really?? Wow… That’s… That’s REALLY fucking disappointing. I really thought he was gonna come through and rip this shit apart just like he did with Scenario. I can’t believe it. I wonder what people were thinking when this song first dropped. Imagine being a huge fan of Scenario, and then seeing that Busta had another feature on a Tribe album, only to be disappointed by an obnoxious hook. Wow. I just can’t fucking believe it. This song… I mean, I like it. It’s a dope track. It’s just really underwhelming compared to most of the other tracks. This honestly might be my least favorite track on the whole album. A verse from Busta Rhymes really would’ve pushed this to the next level. I can’t believe he only did the hook. Haha. Wow. Whatever. I still fuck with the song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 11: Keep It Rollin’ Feat. Large Professor (Prod. Large Professor)

This beat is fucking incredible. God. I love Large Professor. Haha. This is so fucking dope. The first verse from Phife was great. Tip killed the second verse too. I love the structure of this song. It’s just each MC spitting their verse over this fantastic beat. There’s no hook or bridge or anything. It’s just bars. Large Pro’s deep voice provides a nice contrast to the smoother voices of Phife & Tip. His verse was fantastic. He dissed his former group members from Main Source, K-Cut & Sir Scratch. I should probably review Breaking Atoms… Anyway, it was nice to get an actual verse from the feature. I guess this kinda makes up for the lack of a Busta Rhymes verse on the previous track. I’m still kinda disappointed tho. Anyway, this is another one of my favorite tracks. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 12: The Chase, Pt. II

Umm… I don’t recall hearing a song called The Chase, Pt. 1. Maybe this is a sequel to some other artist’s song… Lemme see… Ohh… Apparently this is a revised version of an old demo from A Tribe Called Quest. I guess it’s pretty different if they felt the need to label this as a sequel. It’s starting now. Oooooooooh SHIT. This beat is so fucking smooth. Hahahaha. I feel like I’m saying that for every single song. The production on this album is really fucking good tho. The first verse from Phife was fantastic. Q-Tip did his thing too. The hook is dope. It’s a vocal sample from an old Biz Markie song. Q-Tip came through again for the final verse and killed it. This is another phenomenal song. I definitely fuck with this track. “This concludes Midnight Marauder program. Press any key to return to the main menu.” Huh… That’s weird. This isn’t the last track on the album. I guess this was originally supposed to be the outro. Maybe the next two songs were supposed to be bonus tracks or something. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter. This song is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 13: Lyrics To Go

This beat is dope. The hook is nothing special, but it does its job. The first verse from Q-Tip was really good. I’m not crazy about the electric guitar loop in the background during the hook. It’s kind of annoying to me. Phife’s verse was nice. Actually, that electric guitar kinda sounds good. I guess it just takes some getting used to for me. I’m not completely sold on it, but it’s not bad. The final verse from Tip was cool. This is a good song. It doesn’t really stand out that much to me tho. I kinda hate to say this, but this is definitely the closest thing to filler on this album. Well, I guess Oh My God felt more like filler than this. I don’t know. It’s just not really a standout track to me. I definitely fuck with it tho. It’s a good song. It’s just not as good as a lot of the other tracks. It’s dope tho. 4/5

Track 14: God Lives Through

Alright, here it is. My favorite song by A Tribe Called Quest. I think this’ll be my first time listening to the original version without Busta Rhymes. It’s starting now. This beat is fucking incredible. This is probably one of my favorite beats of all time. Phife’s verse is amazing too. I love the way he started this shit out. “There’s a million MCs that claim they want some / But see I create sounds that make your ears go numb.” He also had a really dope reference to another one of my favorite songs of all time, Passin’ Me By by The Pharcyde. I just love everything about this song. “Now if my partners don’t look good, Malik won’t look good / If Malik don’t look good, then Quest won’t look good / If the Quest don’t look good, then Queens won’t look good / But since the sounds are universal, New York won’t look good.” The beat is so fucking smooth. I think I’ve already told y’all this, but remember how I said Because The Internet by Childish Gambino was my soundtrack to my vacation in Trinidad in 2013? Well, this was also part of that soundtrack. I remember the first time I heard this song. I was sitting on my grandmother’s bed listening to The Abstract & The Dragon. I remember hearing Busta sing the hook and say “I always wanted to sing that shit.” This is a perfect song to me. Q-Tip’s verse was fucking awesome too. Every single aspect of this song is just amazing to me. This is still my favorite Tribe song, even after hearing the rest of this album. It’s dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is fucking incredible to me. This is the best album I’ve ever heard from A Tribe Called Quest in my opinion. I like it even more than The Low End Theory. The production is even more polished, and both Phife & Q-Tip really stepped their flows up for this project. There’s not a single bad song on this album. There’s not even an average song on this album. Every track on this album is dope. Every single song is worth listening to. I don’t see how anyone could dislike this album. What more could you possibly want from A Tribe Called Quest? The production is absolutely amazing. I don’t even know what else to say. This project is just really fucking good. I love this album. It’s absolutely dope af.

Favorite Song: God Lives Through

Least Favorite Song: Oh My God

Verdict:

93%

90-95

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5 comments

  1. Fun fact of the day: This review contains the word “dope” 32 times lol

    I love this album a lot, it might even be my favorite from Tribe and maybe one of my favorite albums of all time.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. Just curious, do you listen to The Weeknd and any chance you might review House Of Balloons? I think you might like it if you haven’t heard it already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I probably won’t review it since it’s not really Hip Hop, and I actually haven’t ever heard a full project from The Weeknd, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from him. I’ll probably check it out some day.

      Like

  2. Great album, some personal highlights for me from this joint are Award Tour, 8 Million Stories and Electric Relaxation.

    Now for a lil history lesson/aftermath of the album’s release:
    After this album dropped Tribe appeared at the 1994 Source Awards (just a year before the infamous Suge Knight speech, but that’s a different story for another time), accepting their award when all of a sudden Tupac jumped on stage due to a lack of communication, between Pac and the folks from the Source.

    Electric Relaxation would later become the theme to the Wayans Brother’s series, starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans.

    In ’94 Ali Shaheed would produce a remix for Ice Cube’s “What Can I Do?” featuring a cameo by a soon to be famous Mack 10.

    In between ’94-’95, Q started going on the self righteous tip and going after West Coast emcees (namely Gangsta Rappers), which would later be addressed in the next album after WC made some not-so kind remarks on the Westside Connection album. (Again another discussion for another album)

    Great job Nick

    Liked by 1 person

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