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14 Responses to “A TRIBE CALLED QUEST / “Push It Along””

Stephanie Renee Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 8:42 am

I so love the dialogue that you gentlemen present in this forum. I can honestly say that Tribe was one of the first hip-hop shows I ever went to that felt like what I theorize that Woodstock must have been like. Except the ratio of white to black was reversed. And the people seemed a lot hipper, without really trying. The white folks revered Tribe like gods, knew every single lyric…and were prone to just reach over and hug us browner brethren and sistren to convey the deep love they were feeling in the music and around them. The browner folks – well, you know we don’t like to get too hype because that’s rather uncool. But the universal head-nodding and arm-waving belied the deeper sentiment. It was totally groovy, baby!

chris defendorf Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 5:02 pm


Great to be able to discuss this record. I want to say that as a producer I have studied this record in depth. great album.

Q-tip, however, produced the beats. I know this because I used to beat-dig at a place in Jersey where he used to frequent. And he said in an interview with a magazine (I forget which one) that he did all the beats.

I disagree also with the observation about no improvisation. While you hit the nail on the head with the comment about tip being able to use ‘abstraction of specificity’ (well put), a lot of stuff on “Low End Theory’ is freestyle, and Tip learning to freestyle. In fact the CD was delayed for a while because he was a perfectionist and kid of worrying that his lyrics were not good enough. I’m not quoting the article I read at that time exactly, but they always had that improvisation a little bit.

Also, when you said they had no swing, i emphatically disagree. I remember when I got this tape, the only thing that I loved more than the sound of the horns (and their unusual chord structure) on “Luck of Lucien” were the drums.

Simplu put, I was at Berklee College studying music then and when I heard the whole concept of drumming on that tape, I was in awe. It was like after that record, other artists got more loose and swingy in their drums, particularly on the kick drum. They had this new 3 against 4 thing. Obviously I had heard the 3 against 4 earlier in my studies, as well as in Soul II Soul. But listen to the kick drum on “Push it Along”. Instead of anticipating the “ONE” with a sixteenth note kick, it has a similar feel, but the kick is ealier in time. It’s like the kick is a superimposition of a triplet over another loop. I don’t think this could really be done before sampling. You know, when you get 2 or more ‘universes’ of timbre, rhythm, sound co-mingling.

but listen to that kick. I think there are 2 at least going on, but listen to that rhythm. That’s swing! It’s the turning point in Hip Hop rhythms, that album.

I agree that it is rap music. and that there is no blues (with the exception of the Marvin Gaye remake later in the CD).

If you’re doing this cd nextt week, will you consider “Ham and Eggs”? Musically, it’s not as interesting as the rest of the CD (with the exception that there is a chord change on the bridge, which are both rarities in hip hop).
However, “Ham & eggs” has a chorus whose energy builds in a unique way. It sounds as though it’s a game. When the main voice singles out a member of the Native Tongues to respond “yes/yep” or “no/nope”, the other members of the “circle around the mic” have to respond accordingly. If Africa Baby Bam (of the Jungle Brothers (or JB’s/JBeez)) says yes, the rest of the guys ‘have’ to say “ALL THE TIME” or “NOT AT ALL”.

If that is not Jazz, I don’t know what is… the “game” demands that each person listen, and they all respond accordingly. You can hear the smiles. And the ability to be spontaneous right there in the studio and change your mind about whether you “eat ham & eggs” offers the reward of hearing your impact immediately. It’s not a chorus that is like any other song. It’s like the chorus lyrics are a cool game. I might be repeating myself a bit, but only cause “Cores” is too funky to have me stop typing.
Anyways thanks fo the opportunity to share. Also, I know the message(s) behind “Ham & Eggs” and although Mike G, Africa, and the others might have had their own “Position” on being pro-pork or anti hear disease etc, it sounds like they created a “song game”.

Nadir Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 5:02 pm


Q-tip (the former fourth member of the Jungle Brothers) has said on several occasions that he was an active participant in the production of all Tribe songs.

The group was from Queens, NY
(not Brooklyn). Of Course we didn’t find this out until the second album. Tribe took some heat for not originally representing their borough from the “heads” in NY.

The sample in “Footprints” is saying “Walking Tall.” It comes from the beginning of one of those cannonball adderley songs. “After Hours” is one of my favorite joints on this classic. What is the instrument rolling with the beat? I love that s….

chris defendorf Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 5:09 pm

I had to run out and didn’t even realize Ham & Eggs was on the playlist. a big oooooooops. plus sorry about the typos in the last post!!!

by the when you eschewed “Tea” did you “exchange it for some Apple” juice?

tidbit of trivia. Phife expands on the ‘sit back listen to some hip hop’ later on.


chris defendorf Says:
June 25th, 2006 at 11:45 pm

are you talking about the timpani? kettle drums. another hip hop first. the best on the native tongues cd’s are the samples of bill cosby & richard pryor.

by the way, the jbeez “done by the forces of nature” and “mecca & the soul brother” by pete rock & cl smooth are excellent , too.

Mtume Says:
June 26th, 2006 at 11:23 am

Great comments, Chris and Nadir. Thanks for setting the record straight about Q-Tip and the beats.

Hey Chris, when I said no swing or improvisation, I should’ve been more specific. I meant no JAZZ swing and no JAZZ improvisation. In other words, I didn’t mean there wasn’t any spontaneity or impromptu vocalizing. I meant no one is improvising on chord changes. No one is taking a melody and creating something different with it. There’s no swinging 8th note. (Although the b-side “If The Papes Come”–which we’ll be checking out next week–definitely does swing, in the jazz sense.)

And, by the way, I didn’t intend that distinction as an insult. I don’t think of any genre of music as being ‘better’ or ‘superior’ to any other genre. If you go back to check out the week we did Public Enemy’s “Powersaxx,” we refer to a conversation with Branford Marsalis (who is the ‘saxx’ in “Powersaxx”) where he clearly does conclude that jazz is different and better than hip-hop. Branford and I ended up yelling and hollering at each other that day–Kalamu had to jump in the convo to calm us down. (It was all cool though–Branford is good people. He’s just dead-wrong about the supposed superiority of jazz and classical. :-> )

Anyway, I wasn’t putting down either Tribe specifically or hip-hop in general. I was just saying nothing on People’s Instinctive Travels is jazz and furthermore I don’t even hear strong jazz elements. I hear jazz samples, but that’s it.

I wanted to mention too, that I refered to Tip & the Tribe as Brooklynites because that’s how they refer to themselves. (On this album, at least.) True, Tip’s bio says he was born in Queens, but the only borough they ever mention on People’s Instinctive Travels is Brooklyn. It’s like Ra said, “It ain’t where you from….”

– Mtume.

ekere Says:
June 26th, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Yes. Finally. Tribe is my all time favorite hip-hop group. Loved em since “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo.” I’ve listened to everything (except that last joint) they’ve ever released in heavy rotation and the thing is this: it’s pure poetry. You always hear or feel or catch something new.

Oh, wow. I miss them. The genius, the soul, the intelligence, the wit…everything about them and their music, I miss.

And hey, does anyone know what Jarobi ended up doing cause I really dug his presence bizarre as it might seem.

one love,

Kiini Ibura Says:
June 27th, 2006 at 12:37 pm

ahhh, the hegemony of Brooklyn.

for some reason Brooklyn has immense and enormous cultural and party power. anytime you go to a cool set in NYC it seems that the people from Brooklyn are always the most numerous and the loudest.

when i moved to New York, i hated it, but I ALWAYS loved Brooklyn.

those “Cool Like That” people that you love so much (blanking on that groups name–you know mecca, buttafly, and ladybug or something like that) did a similar thing. when they moved to the city they started repping Brooklyn so HARD and forgot about–where are they from? Philly?

i have some friends from queens who constantly discuss this phenomena of artists migrating to Brooklyn and not repping their own borrough. such convos led to Tahir Hemphill’s defend queens project. see here:

Kiini Ibura Says:
June 27th, 2006 at 12:38 pm

forgot to say…

I just saw Q-Tip last night at the Holloywood Bowl in L.A. for the Sergio Mendez tribute album concert.

He’s still rocking.

chris defendorf Says:
June 28th, 2006 at 3:24 pm

btw, i didn’t take it that you were insulting. but thanks for the clarity, i was misunderstanding you.

Nesta Says:
July 1st, 2006 at 8:11 pm

I believe the Q in Q-Tip is for Queens.

kyle adams Says:
January 29th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

sorry to be joining this thread so late, and i don’t even know if it’s active anymore…would anyone know where the sample for "push it along" comes from? i’m working on a scholarly project on the analysis of rap music and haven’t been able to find this info.

     Mtume says:     



cincinnatty7 Says:
March 31st, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Brooklyn just sucks today, lousy place where nothing happens…..

lot of talking heads on this site too!

Listen to the music, forget the comments….

Dave C Says:
June 19th, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Q-Tip Is from Queens “Back in the Days on the boulevard of linden/ We used to kick routines and the prescence was hittin” _check the Rhyme… Linden Blvd is in Queens

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