It’s one of the greatest posse cuts in hip-hop history and the perfect closer to a classic album. We’re all familiar with the original, and most of us with the remix as well. But how well do you remember the other versions of this iconic track?
Way back in 1990 Q-Tip was getting everybody around on the closer to The Low End Theory. Black Sheep’s Dres recalls in an interview:
there wound up being so many people on this song, literally. I didn’t even understand what he [Q-Tip] was doing, there were so many people, and it was already such a dope record before it came out. I knew it was going to be a hit.
Several demo versions were cut and word is Tip asked everybody to come back the day after for the final version. Most of them seemed to have had a different schedule in mind though. Only the guys from Leaders of the New School (L.O.N.S.) showed up to record the famous album version. Two of the demos leaked years later and there is a third demo rumored to be the first recorded version.
According to DJ Johnny Juice) it contains an absolutely ballistic verse by De La’s Posdnous:
It was me, Dinco, Busta, Jarobi was there – everybody was in that motherfucker – Dres from Black Sheep was there, both of ‘em, Chris Lighty, Mase and Pos from De La, all them motherfuckers rhymed on ‘Scenario’. I can’t find that copy – I have that tape somewhere in my archives, lost in my attic or some shit. Everybody rhymed on it but Q-Tip, and the best motherfucker on that shit was Posdnuos. He fuckin’ destroyed it, and he ain’t even like the beat! And after he finished rhyming, everybody went back and rewrote their rhymes!
A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Unreleased demo version) ft. De La Soul, Black Sheep & L.O.N.S.
A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Unreleased demo version 2) ft. L.O.N.S. & Chris Lighty
The “Scenario” remix is almost as well known as the original, the B-side on the 12″ eventually even made it’s way to an actual Tribe album (sorta) as it was the first track on The Love Movement‘s bonus disc. The song sports an impressive debut by then unknown MC Kid Hood. He impressed Q-Tip with his skills earlier and recorded the verse in a single take. Sadly, he never had the chance to enjoy the fame it brought him. Kid Hood was shot 3 days after recording the song.
A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Remix) ft. Kid Hood & L.O.N.S.
A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Young Nation Remix)
Scenario wouldn’t nearly have been the same without it’s signature organ intro sampled from Brother Jack McDuff’s Oblighetto, a beatiful slice of jazz-funk in it’s own right.
Brother Jack McDuff – Oblighetto
As a somewhat Tribe-related bonus we’ve included the Dilla remix of Oblighetto that was originally released on the Blue Note Revisited compilation in 2004.
BONUS: Brother Jack McDuff & J Dilla- Oblighetto (Dilla Remix)
A huge shout out for this post is owed to Unkut.com who got the ball rolling on the search for these demos. And rest assured that if that mythical first take of Scenario ever drops we’ll be on that quicker than you can give the answer to Charlie Brown’s existential question (“Who’s that? BROOOOOWN!”).