Beats, Rhymes and Life

Beats, Rhymes and Life

by A Tribe Called Quest


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With their fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life, A Tribe Called Quest manages to be one of the few hip-hop acts to successfully age by pushing both their music and their lyrics into new directions. Stylistically, the record is closest to its immediate predecessor, Midnight Marauders, in the sense that the group's jazz-rap fusion are downplayed and the beat stays surprisingly hard throughout the album. What distinguishes Beats, Rhymes and Life from Marauders is a deeper sense not only of eclectism, but of spirituality and maturity. Shortly before the album was written and recorded, Q-Tip converted to Islam and the religion's ideals are an undercurrent in nearly every track on the album. But what really stands out is Tip's unease with the transience of the youth-oriented hip-hop scene and his own urges to settle down. Unlike most rappers, he confronts these feelings in the music, by writing lyrics and helping to create music that illustrates the contradictions of growing old with hip-hop. And by tackling the issue head-on, A Tribe Called Quest sound fresh and suggest that it is possible to sustain a career in rap as you approach a full decade of recording, after all.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/30/1996
Label: Jive
UPC: 0012414158727
catalogNumber: 41587
Rank: 16367

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Beats, Rhymes and Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some of ATCQ's fans and crtics were really quick in writing this album off and even considered that this was the beginning of the decline for our favorite native tonguesters. What was not recognized was that ATCQ have been in the game for a while and over the years sometimes your style is going to change. Change not necessarily for the worst but for the better. They introduced the production of the newly formed Ummah(which features Jay Dee of Slum Village) giving them a new sound not like the jazz samples of before. Check out 'Phony Rappers', '1nce Again' and 'Word Play'. Also Q-tip had converted to Islam meaning the lyrical content was not as care free as before. But in the end after listening to this album you realize that we all can't, won't, and are not supposed to stay the same. We all change and we shouldn't look at this as a dissapointment. It's a sign of growth and growth is progress. Especially in music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When ''Beats'' was released, everyone was either expecting another ''Low End Theory'' or ''Midnight Marauders'': either that, or they were too caught up in all the commercialism that began to build up in 1996 and eventyally dominate the end of the decade.But this is actually an excellent album when you really listen to it. True, it's no ''Low End Theory'', but what is? Should we really have held Tribe to what they did in the past? Is that fair? No, it isn't. So, my advice is to borrow this record from a friend, listen to every track(especially ''Jam'', ''Phony Rappers'', and ''1nce Again'') and decide for yourself. You might be plesantly suprised.