Yo Ho! WeRCatz here!
On 10 April 1990, the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest released their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The production process was laid back, which was responsible for diverse sampling and the different lyrics that set Tribe apart from mainstream hip hop. Many present hip hop and R&B artists cite People’s Instinctive Travels as their inspiration and influence.
So, let’s look at a few classic pieces of this momentous album:
“Push It Along” sparks the beginning of Tribe’s new style of hip hop. The lyrics serve as the introduction of their message of social issues, the negative aspects of consumerism, and finding one’s inner courage to get through life day after day.
“Luck of Lucien” is about the narrator having a friend called Lucien and trying to help him with his roll of bad luck. Both “Push It Along” and “Luck of Lucien” have a jazzy beat with bridges of jazz that show off Tribe’s innovations to hip hop.
“I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” happens to be the debut single for Tribe and People’s Instinctive Travels. The title speaks for the song as Q-Tip narrates how he lost his wallet in El Segundo.
“Bonita Applebum” is about professing love for a woman named Bonita Applebum. The beats are relaxing and jazzy.
“Can I Kick It?” is just a cool song about being cool. Even though the groove is sampled from Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side,” Tribe has made a masterpiece of chill; this is completely different from their contemporaries.
“Ham and Eggs” is another track with a hook that has truth: ham and eggs have high cholesterol and Tribe does not eat it. Instead, they opt for more healthy alternatives including chicken.
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm changed the hip hop world forever with its alternative style of beats that focus on jazz, different techniques, and an atmosphere of relaxation. Their innovation of using breaks from samples remains a standard to this day. Also, most hip hop producers didn’t recognize or ignored the songs that Tribe sampled, which gave Tribe a huge edge. All Tribe did was convey their message of cool very efficiently without the need for profanity unless it was necessary.