Yesterday, we brought you the first installment of VH1 Album-Versaries: The Low End Theory at 20, reflecting on A Tribe Called Quest’s ground-breaking second album. Before VH1 Rock Doc Beats, Rhymes & Life airs tonight at 10p ET on VH1, dive into the second half of the group’s first joint-interview in 14 years and see what they had to say about what it was like making the film two decades later.
After assembling all four group-members in a joint-interview for the first time in almost fourteen years, we were able to share exclusive stories from Tribe’s recording sessions at Battery Studios and, with help from hip hop expert Sway, cultural critic extraordinaire Nelson George, and international journalist Boss Lady, lauded the album’s effortless ability to resonate with the masses. In today’s Part II, we delve further into The Low End Theory’s sonic framework, the roles of MC Phife Dawg and Q-Tip, and come full circle to set the group’s highly-speculated relationship issues straight.
THE HIP HOP BEATLES
“Coming off the first album, the question was ‘well, what does HE do?’” recalls Phife, hyper-aware of what listeners thought of his seemingly-small contribution on the group’s debut project. Often referred to as his lyrical coming out party, The Low End Theory truly did give Phife the platform to hunker down and fully transition from (what Jarobi would describe as) being “young and crazy” to a focused, rhyme-writing, studio-attending MC. His high-pitched, witty lyrics complimented Q-Tip’s smooth vocal delivery, and Phife wound up on 9 of the album’s 14 tracks, a drastic and well-deserved upgrade from the four he appeared on with People’s Instinctive Travels.