A Tribe Called Quest has such a rich and amazing catalog contained in so few records that ranking their five albums was damn near impossible. Here’s my rundown on Tribe’s discography in order of superiority.
5. People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
The debut album by the Tribe served as our first ever tasting of such diverse and skilled rhymes by a group that was so against the grain. The fact that this album is a classic and still ranks at the bottom of this list is proof that all you non-Tribe listeners should get your damn heads’ out of the sand and pick up these records.
4. The Love Movement
The final album of original material by A Tribe Called Quest is one that perfectly wraps up their career. It both hearkens back to the early sounds of the band, while still incorporating some of the new themes and musical influences they acquired during their tenure together. This album is criminally underrated, and definitely worth another listen for even the biggest of ATCQ fans.
3. Beats, Rhymes and Life
Following the success of their two previous critically acclaimed albums, the group decided to switch up their style completely. Tribe added J Dilla to the production end of what’s easily their darkest album in themes and content, including commentary by the group on the state of hip-hop during the gangsta-rap heyday. Though monumentally different from the rest of the Tribe discography, this album is definitely not one to sleep on. It shows the true depth of the group that they were able to switch their sound up entirely and still create an amazing and thought provoking album.
2. The Low End Theory
On the group’s sophomore album, they gelled together as a collective and stepped up their rhymes. The outstanding result speaks for itself. This album is an undeniable classic, with flawless head-nodding production and brain teasing lyrics that belong in any hip-hop fan’s iPod, Tribe fan or not.
1. Midnight Marauders
Having to choose which album deserved the top spot between this and The Low End Theory is one of the tougher choices I’ve had to come up with in a very long time. Eventually, I decided upon Midnight Marauders as the winner, since it took everything that the group did perfectly on their previous release and then kicked it up an extra level, to create an album that was both critically and commercially stellar. A landmark hip-hop album by one of rap’s most prolific groups.