Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, the seminal group’s third album and one of the most iconic albums in hip-hop history. Unleashed the same day as the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, it represented the other side of New York hip-hop in the early 1990s, and cemented Tribe as one of the best hip-hop artists out.
“At first there was a lot of pressure, because everybody was so gung-ho about the Low End album, and that came out ’91,” said Tribe’s Phife Dawg in an interview with XXL yesterday. ”Obviously, that’s a two-year wait, so there was a lot of pressure like, ‘Can they do it again?’ Q-Tip is really hands on, Tip is a genius, so by the time he was finished sequencing the album, I was lookin’ at him sayin, ‘Yo, b, we did it again.’”
Twenty years down the road—and 15 years since their last album, 1998′s The Love Movement—and Tribe are about to reunite for a handful of shows opening up for Kanye West on his current (though currently postponed) Yeezus Tour. “Honestly, man, it makes me feel old as hell,” Phife said, laughing. ”It honestly feels like it was just yesterday. Time definitely flies, but I’m glad we’re all still around to smell the flowers while we still here.” While reminiscing, Phife broke down his ten favorite Tribe Called Quest songs from the group’s five albums, the stories behind them, and dishes on the Tribe song he holds closest to his heart. —Dan Rys (@danrys)
Ed. Note: DJ Rasta Root created a ‘Best Of Tribe’ playlist, which can be streamed here.