Friday, September 24, 2010

Sample Set #161

A bit of advice from A Tribe Called Quest: when stating your objective, let it out at the offset. Q-Tip did just that on "Excursions", the intro to their sophomore (and possibly greatest) LP The Low End Theory:
Back in the days when I was a teenager/
Before I had status and before I had a pager/
You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop/
My pops used to say it reminded him of bebop/
I said well daddy don't you know that things go in cycles/
A Tribe Called Quest certainly weren't the first artists to intertwine jazz with hip hop. Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets can be credited for being the fore/godfathers of this genial fusion of genres. But Tribe, along with Gang Starr and a few others, certainly elevated jazz rap to a level of high acclaim and mainstream appeal. In the looming presence - and dominance - of gangsta rap, albums like The Low End Theory led to the development of not just the "jazz rap" subgenre, but also the notion of "alternative hip hop" as an autonomous entity within the greater hip hop culture. Ironically, Q-Tip has stated that The Low End Theory was directly influenced by N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton, gangsta rap's notorious poster child - an album just about as diametrically opposed in every way possible to Tribe and jazz rap's perception and disposition. Adding to this paradox, Dr. Dre was greatly inspired by The Low End Theory. The result was his solo debut, 1992's The Chronic. You see? United we stand, divided we fall. Indeed, "things go in cycles."

Compiling this sample set was something of an "excursion" in and of itself, as I gathered a bunch of great (and often obscure) jazz and funk records by the likes of music legends and lesser known artists alike. The result is something you'd only expect to see/hear from Tribe (with Pete Rock being a possible exception; more on that later!). Thirty-seven tracks deep, this one's another keeper. In fact Ms. Nana thinks it may be my greatest yet, but you be the judge of that! As always... enjoy... and turn it up!!

Side note: I've had a Tumblr account for a few years now but have only actively been updating it for the past two months or so. If you're a fan of this blog, odds are you'll love my spot over there too. I call it Brilliant Corners and I like to think it lives up to the name. It's got some of my off-topic/non-hip hop interests as well as bonus HHIR content you won't find anywhere else. So yeah, this is my first formal invitation for you to check that out. For this sample set in particular, I've got a few posts you may enjoy:

"Buggin' Out" and The Low End Theory: A Mini-Review
Diggin’ in the Crates… The records that made The Low End Theory, slide show #1
Diggin’ in the Crates… The records that made The Low End Theory, slide show #2
The Songs That Didn't Make My Tribe Sample Set