A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes And Life

With all the negative publicity surrounding rap music in the past few years, A Tribe Called Quest’s latest album, “Beats, Rhymes and Life” could not have been released a minute too soon. It is laced with smooth beats and conscience lyrics geared against gangsta rap. A repeating theme of the album is the emergence of so many phony rappers who have stepped into the rap scene yelling “keep it real” and constantly rapping about how many guns they carry and how much weed they smoke. In the first track, “Phony Rappers,” the Tribe gets their point across with lyrics like “He said he likes to rhyme about his .454’s and nickel bags of weed … I didn’t know you like to play yourself and front your friends, sitting there lying to no ends.” They continue with “Now all the Glock-toting trash you talk, it won’t prevail, it’s stale, you oughta be dead or in jail.” This is a positive change from the gangsta image a lot or rappers try to associate themselves with today. The reason I give this album a positive review is because it doesn’t give into the stereotypes associated with rap music, that rappers are only out to promote violence, drugs and degrade women. A Tribe Called Quest takes a stand against this and have truly “kept it real” throughout. Other groups including Fugees, Pharcyde and Outkast have joined the Tribe in a rap evolution, which is not geared toward violence and is pushing gangsta rap out the door. One weakness I found in this album is the additional vocals, provided by Tammy Lucas, Faith Evans and Consequence, which did not add much. I was hoping Mobb Deep would appear on the album as a return favor for the work Tribe member Q-Tip did on their album. Although this album seems to lack a standout single, it is led by tracks such as “Get a Hold,” “Motivators,” and “The Hop.” With the endless rhymes from Q-Tip and Phife and the innovative beats provided by producer The Ummah, “Beats, Rhymes and Life” is an excellent investment for any hip-hop fan

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