A Tribe Called Quest: 20 Essential Songs

R.I.P. Phife Dawg: Revisit pioneering New York rap crew's best tracks

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"Bonita Applebum" (1990)

"This is the song that truly birthed the idea of neo-soul," Questlove told Rolling Stone of People's Instinctive's second single. "It was the coolest love song hip-hop has ever offered us." On the 1990 track, Q-Tip blends the sultry guitars of soul-jazz group RAMP's "Daylight" with the vocals and sitar of Rotary Connection's "Memory Band" for a track that thumps hard enough for the guys but nods to the bedroom for the girls. "I was obsessed with it," Pharrell says in the ATCQ documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life. "I had never heard nothing like that in my whole life." The song exemplified the group's mellow side and turned Q-Tip into a Golden Era sex symbol. Who was Bonita? "Somebody who was refined," Black Thought says in the doc. "But had a fat ass."

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