VH1 ALBUM-VERSARIES: A Tribe Called Quest Reminisces About The Low End Theory At 20 (PART II of II)

by (@Lacezilla)

“I just felt like a conduit… like I wasn’t even conscious, sh*t was just happening,” recalls Q-Tip. “It was just like energy that we didn’t even plan on, we just got in and it was almost just like how a band jams.” While the organic flow between the group members was most prevalent, they occasionally went outside the family for a fresh perspective. Producer Skeff Anselm worked on two of the album’s tracks, and the legendary Pete Rock laid the blueprint for “Jazz (We’ve Got)” before passing it to Tip and Ali to re-work. Taking a hands-on approach to incorporating the album’s flowing, jazz-influenced aesthetic themes, Tip also recruited acclaimed upright bassist Ron Carter to appear on one of Ali’s favorite tracks, “Verses From The Abstract.” “The groove is so deep I almost crashed my car one day listening to it so intensely,” recalls Ali, who in addition to working on production, is also the group’s DJ. “I just was drawn in: the shout out at the end for those who aren’t there, the beat was just so knocking and so rugged, but the content and Q-Tip’s cadence on there is so hypnotic, I find myself getting lost in it.”

For good reason, Ali’s other favorite track on Low End is “Buggin’ Out.” Already pioneering his way through layering a myriad of mostly-jazz samples, on that song was where Q-Tip first merged two drum tracks together, and Ali’s mind was officially blown. “I was just so accustomed to taking empty drum loops and leaving them solo or layering them with other electronic sounds and give ‘em a fill, but man, when he did that, it was next level, like “OH, you can DO that?!?” Equally impressed by the song was Neptunes producer Pharrell, who, in Beats, Rhymes & Life, reenacts the moment when he first heard Phife’s verse, and of Tip’s never-before-seen techniques, plainly states “We’re all his sons.” A clear disciple of the cutting-edge sound, Pharrell also goes on to admit “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Tribe albums.”

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