The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest get tons of positive press and their rapping peers seem to love them, but the quartet’s ethereal 1990 debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, went nowhere commercially. Now a trio, the Tribe might find their rescue on The Low End Theory. Here they abandon the hippielike meanderings of their earlier album for a sparse, jazzy sound (complete with string bass) that perfectly complements their laid-back, raspy delivery. With images that rush by in a flurry worthy of Muhammad Ali, Phife, one of the group’s rappers, boasts on ”Buggin’ Out” that ”I float like gravity, never had a cavity/Got more rhymes than the Winans got family.” Unfortunately, The Low End Theory‘s head-trippy hip-hop doesn’t move my rear end on the dance floor — there seems to be little passion at the core. This may be the greatest hip-hop album that will never quicken my pulse. B

The Low End Theory
  • Music