Album Review | A Tribe Called Quest – The Love Movement

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This album was released on September 29th in 1998. I’m not really sure what I’m gonna think about this album. I never really hear people talk about it. I’ll be shocked if I end up disliking it tho. I’ve heard a few songs from it, and from what I can remember they weren’t bad at all. The official cover art for this album really sucks by the way. I don’t like it at all. All of their other album covers are so colorful and creative looking, so the super boring, simplistic, uninteresting cover for this one is pretty disappointing. I guess that doesn’t really matter tho. I’m sure it’s still a dope project. Every track is produced by The Ummah.

Track 1: Start It Up

HOLY… Good lord. This beat is fucking amazing. Q-Tip’s goin’ in on this first verse. I really like this sporadic flow he’s using. Normally a flow like that would be annoying to me, but the way it’s synchronized with this beat is really cool. “Enslave spirits through the music is our mission / Money’s cool, but not cooler than a ghetto rebel risin’ to overthrow a ruler.” This is really dope. The hook’s nothing special, but it serves it’s purpose. The second verse was cool, but I kinda wish he didn’t use the same exact flow from the first one. It got old pretty quickly. This is a dope song. A verse from Phife would’ve been cool, and a less repetitive flow would’ve made it way better, but I still fuck with this track. 4/5

Track 2: Find A Way

Find A Way

My stomach hurts right now. I think it’s because I ate an entire bag of jalapeño cheetoes. Honestly… It was worth it. Anyway, this song has a fucking awesome beat. J Dilla is amazing. This beat is even better than the previous one. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Q-Tip’s rapping about this girl who he had a really huge crush on. I wish this wasn’t so relatable for me smh… “The whole world sees it, but you can’t / My peoples they complain, sit, and rave & rant / Your name is out my mouth like an ancient chant / Got me like a dog as I pause and pant.” Phife Dawg came in right behind Tip. It was dope. He did his thing on the hook too. This is great. The second verse was really dope too. I really liked the outro too. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 3: Da Booty

This beat is dope af. J Dilla is a fucking genius. I’m not really feelin’ the hook. It’s fine I guess. It’s just kinda corny to me. They’re trading 8 bar verses, and it’s really dope. They thankfully aren’t rapping about what the song is named after. Hmm… This is strange… The version I’m listening to is supposed to be a clean version—I don’t think they released an explicit version—but I guess they just forgot to censor this line from Q-Tip: “Shake that ass, girl, because you world renowned.” That’s kinda funny. I wish they just didn’t bother trying to censor this shit. If they really didn’t wanna have cuss words in their songs then they just shouldn’t have written them in there. The last two verses from Tip & Phife were nice. To me Phife sounded better on this track than Q-Tip. They both did their thing, but Phife’s voice just sounded better for some reason. Q-Tip’s flow was also kinda basic. This is a dope song. It’s probably my least favorite track so far, but I still really enjoyed this. 4/5

Track 4: Steppin’ It Up Feat. Busta Rhymes & Redman

I think I’ve heard this song before. I’m pretty sure it was on The Abstract & The Dragon, which was a collaborative mixtape from Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip, released in 2013 if I’m not mistaken. It’s been a really long time since I listened to this track, so I don’t really remember it at all. I’m sure it’ll come back to me as I’m listening to it. It’s starting now. Oh shit. Okay, yeah I remember this shit. Busta’s tearing this first verse apart. “Wonder twin powers activate real quick / So that I could grow about five feet more with an extra dick / One dick to hold in my hand when I’m rockin’ the mic / The extra dick to blow up the pussy for the rest of the night.” He fuckin’ killed this shit. I love this song. Man, I can’t believe I forgot about this shit. This song isn’t censored by the way. I love the way Phife comes in saying “Yo, what the fuck uh.” It just sounds so smooth to me. His verse was awesome. Q-Tip killed it. “Check it out; the original, shit, we makin’ it / Takin’ it to the extremes, we breakin’ it / When we get inside a zone then you feel that it’s good / All you jelly cats stop marinatin’ my wood.” Of course Redman snapped on this shit. This song is fucking awesome. Ranking the verses would be really hard… I’m somewhat of a Busta Rhymes stan, so take this with a grain of salt; from best to worst, I’d say Busta Rhymes, then Q-Tip, then Redman, then Phife. I don’t know. Something about that just feels off. All of the verses were fantastic tho. This is definitely my favorite track so far. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 5: Like It Like That

This beat is dope af. Gotdamn. This shit is so fuckin’ smooth. Q-Tip is goin’ in on the first verse. He killed this shit. Man, this is so fucking dope. “Bust your ass slow, as if you didn’t know / Put my mic inside your brain zone; don’t diss, home bitch / It’s the rhyme, it’s the beat that vibe all together / That makes the competitors sound like this.” The hook is decent. Okay, this is another solo Q-Tip track. His flow on this second verse is so dope. “Who could be the one rhyming ill? Having fun / Blowing up, making musical memories and things / Elevate your thoughts on the vibe that we brought / While we climbing & we shine like a super bowl ring.” This is a great song. A verse from Phife could’ve been cool, but I think Tip held shit down on his own. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 6: Common Ground (Get It Goin’ On)

Man, I fucking love the production on this album. Q-Tip’s flow is nothing special on this first verse. Woah… This is kinda dark… At first it sounded like a love song, but it pretty much devolved into a song about having an abusive girlfriend. “Be a slave to her, don’t be brave to her / Make sure that she’s right, make sure that you’re wrong / When she wants it, do it / Make sure that it’s long.” I don’t think it’s supposed to sound as fucked up as these lines make it seem tho. The hook’s not bad. Phife’s verse is literally only four bars long. The song just ended. This was pretty dope. It’s definitely not one of my favorites, but it’s not bad at all. I fuck with this track. 4/5

Track 7: 4 Moms Feat. Spanky

I have a family friend who has a dog named Spanky. I don’t know why I just told you that. Anyway, this is just an instrumental track, and it’s fucking fantastic. Spanky put his ASS into this shit. This is one of my favorite tracks so far, but it’s not really a full song, so I won’t give it a rating.

Track 8: His Name Is Mutty Ranks

This beat is fantastic. It sounds like it’s got a West Indian influence. I guess that’d make sense considering the Aswad sample at the beginning of the track. Phife is killin’ this shit right now. I’m assuming this is a solo Phife Dawg track. It’s just under two minutes, and there’s no sign of Q-Tip so far. It also makes more sense considering the West Indian influences in the production, and Phife’s Trinidadian roots. I love the rough, old school vibe this track gives off. The percussion is really hard-hitting, and Phife’s delivery is pretty aggressive. “Before I take stage I take sips of Aquafina / Fucked Judy Jetson, now they call me Jet Screamer / Love my coffee dark, so you can keep your dairy creamer / Tribe fallin’ off? Well you’s a goddamn dreamer.” This is a really dope track. I think it would’ve been better if it had an additional verse, but I still really enjoyed. It was cool to see him pay homage to his Caribbean heritage. That’s one of the few aspects of Phife I can relate to. I fuck with this track. 4/5

Track 9: Give Me Feat. Noreaga

I’m not too familiar with Noreaga’s work, but from what I’ve heard he’s pretty fuckin’ dope. This track is starting now. This beat is dope. Q-Tip’s singing the hook, and it actually turns out far better than you’d expect. I’m not crazy about it, but it’s not bad at all. N.O.R.E. did his thing on this track. His flow was dope. Q-Tip is goin’ in now. “So Hip Hop I bust nut in graffiti.” Wow. His verse was cool. Noreaga’s goin’ in again. He has a really good voice for Hip Hop. Now Phife’s goin’ in. He did his thing. This is definitely one of the most underwhelming tracks on the album so far, but I still enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 10: Pad & Pen Feat. D-Life

D-Life’s contribution to this track was completely unnecessary. He’s really just doing what Jarobi did on the first Tribe album. Tip & Phife are going back and forth with four bar verses. This beat is really dope. None of the verses were super interesting, but they weren’t bad at all. I like this hook a lot. Their flows are nothing special. I’m enjoying this a lot sonically tho. Lyrically it wasn’t that impressive, but it wasn’t bad either. I fuck with this track. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 11: Busta’s Lament (Co-Prod. Bay-Lloyd)

This beat is dope af. This shit is so fuckin’ smooth. Phife’s flow on this first verse is really nice. I love this hook. There are some ad-libs from Busta Rhymes. Q-Tip’s verse was really dope. “Do it all for the rhyme, and the rhythm and things / When we do it we bangin’ like we inside the bank / Ain’t doubtin’ nobody when we inside the jam / But I’m proud overall, and I know who I am.” I’m not really sure why this song is called Busta’s Lament. It doesn’t seem to have any connection to him aside from the use of his ad-libs. It doesn’t really matter tho. I really fuck with this track. This one is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 12: Hot 4 U

This beat is dope af. Q-Tip & Phife Dawg are trading verses. This is pretty cool. The subject matter really isn’t for me tho. They’re just reminiscing about different women that they used to sleep with. I’m really not interested in rappers’ sex lives. This is at least dope sonically tho. Their flows are really nice. The hook is decent. This is one of the least impressive songs so far, but I still enjoyed it. This is dope to me. I fuck with this track. 4/5

Track 13: Against The World

This beat is awesome. The way Phife & Tip are trading bars on this first verse is really cool. This is a love song, and it’s actually really cool. The way they’re describing their interactions with this girl in so much detail is dope. This shit is absurdly specific. “Moonlight dancin’ inside of your eyes / Close your legs, I start to sigh / Now I reach down to unlace my Nikes / Kick off your Adidas ’cause that’s what you like.” This hook kinda sucks. It’s not too bad tho. The second verse was pretty good. I fuck with this track. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 14: The Love

This track is censored for no apparent reason. OH FUCK. This beat is dope af. This is one of the most energetic tracks on the album. I guess this is the closest thing to a title track, so they probably wanted to make is really memorable. The hook is dope af. Q-Tip’s goin’ in about all the shit he loves in life. “Love it when the pressure falls right on me / Love it when God keeps on overlookin’ / Do a tight show so promoters keep bookin’.” Phife’s verse was great. “Had to rock a vest over unchoosed stress / Now I see people rockin’ theirs in jest / Love it when my loved one really holds me down / Brand new flight, and I’m takin’ off ground.” This is definitely one of my favorite tracks. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 15: Rock Rock Y’all Feat. Punchline, Wordsworth, Jane Doe & Mos Def

Oh shit. Okay, THIS is gonna be awesome. This beat is dope af. It isn’t super smooth like most of the other beats. I guess they couldn’t have that really laid back, jazzy production with all these dope MC’s spittin’ their asses off like this. Punchline murdered that first verse. The way he carried that rhyme scheme for his entire verse was crazy. Damn. This Jane Doe chick is killin’ this shit. Her flow is awesome. Jesus. She carried the same rhyme scheme for her whole verse just like Punchline did. This shit is crazy. Wordsworth’s verse was great. Q-Tip snapped on this shit too. Good lord. This song is fucking awesome. Mos Def’s verse was dope af too. Man… This shit is crazy. Okay, yeah… I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. They all killed it. If I had to rank them from best to worst, I’d say Jane Doe, then Punchline, then Q-Tip, then Mos Def, then Wordsworth. They all snapped on this song tho. It would’ve been dope to get a verse from Phife, but this shit is great either way. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is really fucking great. It’s actually a lot better than I thought it was gonna be. I think this was a good return to the formula they had on The Low End Theory & Midnight Marauders. The production from The Ummah was fucking fantastic for the most part. I think one thing that I really liked about this album was the absence of Consequence. I think he’s a competent MC, but I just don’t really wanna hear him on a Tribe album. It just didn’t feel right. He felt really out of place. I don’t have any gripes with this album. If I really had to nitpick I guess I could say that their flows occasionally came off a little dry. It never ruined any songs tho. There’s not a single track on this project that I don’t think is dope. This is my third favorite Tribe album so far. I fuck with this one. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Rock Rock Y’all

Least Favorite Song: Hot 4 U




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One comment

  1. (this is going to be a long one, so bare with me lol)

    The main reason this album was kinda swept aside for a lot of heads was due to the incoming reign of artists such as Jay Z, Puffy, Wu Tang, DMX, Redman & Method Man, Busta, Mack 10 etc.

    The main reason this is called “The Love Movement” was to bring back even just a slight glimmer of positive vibes back to Hip Hop after all that had happened in between Pac and BIG’s passing, all the violence and just madness that happened, Tribe wanted to bring back the love in Hip Hop….. hence the title.

    Give Me, Against The World, The Love, Rock Rock Ya’ll, His Name Is Mutty Ranks, Steppin’ It Up and Start It Up are undoubtedly the best songs in the album imo. This project is better than Beats, Rhyme & Life, from a lyrical standpoint as well as from how the beats sound. Though sadly after this project released came the long hiatus/unofficial breakup which would be covered in the documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life” (which is a must see if you’re a Tribe fan).

    I give this project a 9.5/10

    Good job Nick, also if you’re interested here are some other album’s/compilations from 1998 to peep when you get a shot.

    Straight Outta Compton-10th Anniversary Tribute

    Mack 10-The Recipe

    DMX-Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood

    Small Soldiers Soundtrack

    Pras (of the Fugees)-Ghetto Supastar

    Gang Starr-Moment Of Truth

    E-40-Element Of Surprise

    Big C Style Presents: 19th Street LBC Compilation

    Nate Dogg-G-Funk Classics Vol. 1 & 2

    Def Squad (Keith Murray, Redman & Erick Sermon)-El Niño

    Ruthless Records Decade Of Game compilation

    Tupac’s Greatest Hits

    Daz Dillinger-Retaliation, Revenge & Getback

    MC Ren-Ruthless For Life

    Scarface-My Homies

    Geto Boyz-Good, Bad & Da Ugly

    Yukmouth-Thugged Out: The Albulation

    Blac Monks-No Mercy

    Blade soundtrack

    Players Club soundtrack

    Caught Up soundtrack

    Bulworth soundtrack

    Rush Hour soundtrack

    Dr. Dolittle soundtrack

    Ride soundtrack

    Belly soundtrack

    Slam soundtrack

    Streets Is Watching soundtrack

    I Got The Hookup soundtrack

    Rush Hour soundtrack

    He Got Game soundtrack (performed entirely by Public Enemy)

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