It’s the holiday weekend at last and seeing as how Kelly is likely going to spending the majority of it in bed (a “Good Friday”, indeed!) I’m going to use the bonus day to complete a 3750m swim, and then get reacquainted with the weights in the gym upstairs. Just keep things festive, I’m going to celebrate the 39 lashes that Christ received with 39 reps of the heavy iron in true He-man fashion. Similarly, when Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross so to speak, there was an earthquake, tombs broke open, and the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. This afternoon, however, the only tearing taking place will be my own muscle fiber and the resounding earthquake is the direct result of a whole lot of awesomeness being thrown down during my sets. Making things even more holy is the current soundtrack I have going for this workout, ‘The Low End Theory‘ by A Tribe Called Quest.
In all honesty, I know as much about A Tribe Called Quest as I know about, say, cold water fusion. In truth, I was really into my Manchester scene at that time. I do know though that band member Phife Dog (other members include dudes named Q-Tip and Jarobi White) passed away two days ago and bunches of my friends expressed their remorse publicly through Facebook so I figured I’d give them a shot this afternoon to see what all the fuss was about.
‘The Low End Theory‘ is actually the 2nd album by the New York hip hoppers released in 1991. It was one of the first records to fuse hip hop with a laid-back jazz atmosphere. In fact, the group even went so far as to hire double bassist Ron Carter from the Miles Davis Quartet on the track ‘Verses from the Abstract‘. The band showcase how rap was done before commercial success influenced many rappers’ creativity. The album’s minimalist sound is basically stripped to the essentials: vocals, drums, and bass where the bass drum and vocals emphasize the downbeat on every track. Engineer Bob Power has been quoted numerous times calling the album, “The Sgt. Pepper’s of hip hop”. Rolling Stone ranked the album at #154 in their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, stating that “people connected the dots between hip-hop and jazz – both were revolutionary forms of black music based in improvisation and flow – but A Tribe Called Quest’s second album drew the entire picture”.
As far my own opinion of the album goes, it’s definitely…decent. I mean, I really liked the double bass effects in certain song, ‘Buggin’ Out‘ being the best example. But I failed to make an instant “Oh fuck me, this is awesome!” connection to it. It’s far from ever going on the Shit List, of course, and it is a fun listen. After all, any album that can reference Busta Rhymes, the 80’s television show ‘Riptide‘, Scud missiles, Buster Douglas, Tender Vittles, 8-ball jackets, Mr. Furley (of ‘Three’s Company‘ fame) and whateva the hell “Beatnuts” is, is definitely worthy of attention.
That’s all I’m sayin’ homeslice, dig?
Now, just being able to enjoy the album doesn’t mean I’m necessarily all down with the “hippity hop” any more than my owning one Bob Marley album makes me a Rude Boy but still, I confess, I can better see why some of my friends liked this band (and album) and were so broken up over this Phife Dog’s passing. And while I might not be the next A Tribe Called Quest convert, I definitely wouldn’t avoid listening to other albums in the future should they present themselves.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering about this album or band yourself, you can listen to it yourself by clicking HERE.