Volume 93, Issue 53

Thursday, December 2, 1999


Bullard's Little Thoughts a big success

Tribe still united in Anthology

The Deadly Snakes shed their stereotypes

Rage wage Battle of Toronto

Tribe still united in Anthology

Fans of A Tribe Called Quest still despondent over the group's '98 breakup, can now console themselves with The Anthology, the newest collection of hits from the disintegrated super-group union.

With solo efforts from former group frontman Q-Tip and Phife on the impending musical horizon, it would seem as if a retrospective of their shared dynamic would be in order. From the youthful bravado of their 1989 debut, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, through 1991's hip-hop/jazz fusion The Low End Theory, all the way up to the final divorcing effort, 1998's The Love Movement, this anthology contains perhaps the most definitive songs of the group's style – one which redefined the hip-hop genre for future generations.

One can trace the group's evolution as the disc progresses. Earlier, frilly-sounding tracks such as "Can I Kick It?" and "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" showcase the naive innocence of a group of youngsters simply revelling in the joy of making music.

A young Busta Rhymes makes appearances on "Scenario" and "Oh My God," his frenetic verses providing a welcome change of texture to Tribe's smoother stylings.

Later efforts, such as "Find A Way" and "Hot Sex" show evidence of the group's eventual demise, as they relegate into the safe territory of catchy hooks and soft, derivative subject matter. Also included is the first solo single by a group member, Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing," which appeared on this year's Violator soundtrack.

As a whole, The Anthology is perhaps one of the best compilations out this year, chronicling the rise and fall of one of the most influential and innovative groups of the '90s.

Why were they so beloved by fans? Was it the original concepts and off-kilter beats? Their refusal to create short radio-friendly songs, instead choosing to create elaborate, rambling numbers? Or was it the simple pleasure they seemed to take in the act of creating auditory art?

Whatever the reason, it's clear that Tribe succeeded in their Quest.

–Luke Rundle

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Copyright The Gazette 1999