100 Best Albums of the Nineties

36

A Tribe Called Quest, 'The Low End Theory'

The nice guys finished first. Queens-born and -bred A Tribe Called Quest brought you egoless hip-hop that let you dance to their smooth, jazzy sounds, chock with horns and upright bass and chill alongside their laid-back attitude. Producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad polished the mix, and MC Phife played a great second fiddle in rhymes about SkyPagers, the record industry and girls ("Tanya, Tameeka/Sharon, Karen/Tina, Stacy/Julie, Tracy"), but, really, it was Q-Tip's show. His distinct nasal voice light and delicious, his liquid flow as warm and comforting as an electric blanket, his natural charisma shining through the speakers, Q-Tip makes The Low End Theory feel like an easy conversation with an old friend.

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