A Tribe Called Quest: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone
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A Tribe Called Quest: 20 Essential Songs

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

Tribe Called Quest; Essential Songs

A Tribe Called Quest (L-R): Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White.

Karl Grant/Photoshot

Through 10 years and a handful of critically adored albums, rappers A Tribe Called Quest went from spitting fly routines on Linden Boulevard in Queens to mapping out the electrically relaxed blueprint for wave after wave of abstract alterna-rap bohemians — laying the footprints for Digable Planets, the Fugees, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, the Black Eyed Peas, Lupe Fiasco and even superfan Kanye West.

Together, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad cemented the link between jazz’s grooves and hip-hop’s future funk, provided a show-stealing scenario to launch their friend Busta Rhymes to fame and incubated a young producer named Jay Dee who would influence a generation of beatmakers on his own. A freewheeling trip of Lou Reed licks, tales of lost wallets, giddy scratching, Ron Carter bass assists and salty punchlines, their body of work was like nothing hip-hop had seen before, or has since.

In remembrance of Phife Dawg, who passed away Tuesday at age 45, here are the pioneering rap group’s 20 essential tracks.

Newswire

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