A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory: #551 of best 1,000 albums ever!

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory

So why is A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There’s something exquisite and uniquely great about music that combines hip hop and jazz. The Low End Theory is almost minimalist in that respect, perfectly stripped down to its core elements of jazz samples, hip hop backbeat, and world class hip hop flow from Q-Tip and Phife Dawg.

“Scenario,” my favorite song on the album, features a guest verse from an up-and-coming rapper you may have heard of called Busta Rhymes. Q-Tip’s opening verse is a masterclass in rap storytelling, and overall the track has a hard-hitting beat and energetic flow.

“Jazz (We’ve Got)” showcases Tribe’s unique ability to seamlessly blend jazz and hip hop. The repetitive horns and bass line create a mesmerizing groove that perfectly complements Q-Tip’s relaxed delivery.

“Check the Rhime” has an infectious beat and playful lyrics, showcasing the Tribe’s signature laid-back style. Q-Tip’s clever wordplay and playful delivery is mesmerizing, and the song’s catchy chorus has become one of ATCQ’s most recognizable hooks.

It also includes one of my favorite hip hop lines of all time, a fantastic proclamation for artists everywhere to be careful of those who would seek to monetize their creative efforts:

Industry rule number four thousand and eighty
Record company people are shady

As great as The Low End Theory is, for my money the true ATCQ masterpiece would come two years later in 1993’s Midnight Marauder. Stay tuned to your local Pop Thruster and best 1,000 albums ever project for more on that.

Some stats & info about A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Hip Hop, Rap, East Coast Hip, Jazzy Rap
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #43
  • All Music’s rating5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The Low End Theory released? 1991
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #551 out of 1,000

A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Brothers front, they say the Tribe can’t flow, but we’ve been known to do the impossible like Broadway Joe.

What’s the most interesting thing about A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory that most people don’t know?

The Low End Theory was influential in incorporating jazz elements into hip-hop music and is considered a classic album in the genre. One lesser known fact is that the album features bassist Ron Carter, who is a renowned jazz bassist, on the track “Verses from the Abstract”.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.