A Tribe Called Quest: 20 Essential Songs

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

Load Previous

"Electric Relaxation" (1994)

One of A Tribe Called Quest's best-loved songs perfectly encapsulates Q-Tip and Phife Dawg's comparable strengths as MCs. Q-Tip is the street poet funky enough to drop lines like "I wanna pound the poontang until it stinks," yet he also sensitively notes the anguish of unrequited sexual attraction ("I couldn't drop dimes ‘cause you couldn't relate"). Phife Dawg is the corner dude whose command of urban pop ephemera like BBD's failed 1993 single "Above the Rim" and BET Video LP host Madelyne Woods is only matched by his raunchy punch lines ("Let me save the little man from inside the boat"). Underlining their back-and-forth flows is an inimitably slowed-down loop of Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew" and a mumbled Q-Tip chorus that, in the pre-Internet days, had heads struggling to figure out what he says: "Relax yourself, girl ... what?"

Back to Top