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We were like virgins, says Ali Shaheed Muhammed, referring to the time of Peoples Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm and the experience of making the album for himself and fellow A Tribe Called Quest bandmates Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Jarobi. If you could capture and pull out the chemical make up of your dreams coming trueits happening and at the same time youre a teenagerif you could extract that, it would be euphoric for all ages and all time periods. And I think that was what was in that album, because we were living our dreams.
It was on April 17, back in 1990, that A Tribe Called Quest released their truly unique debut Peoples Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm on Jive Records. Full of playful humor, abstract musings, teenage tales, social commentary, and distinctive production, the album channels and touches in on a spectrum of sentiments and feeling. From such odes to adolescence as Bonita Applebum and I Left My Wallet in El Segundo (possibly the best hip-hop music video?) to the philosophical leanings of tracks like Push It Along and Footprints, and the conscious themes of Description of a Fool and Luck of Lucien, Tribe were undeniably youthful old souls.
The remarkably experimental album (just dig the dawn-of-the-universe-esque intro) kicked off what was to become one of the most inspiring and influential careers in hip-hop. So many musicians and fans cite A Tribe Called Quest as their very favorite group that it is hard to imagine what the musical landscape might look like without their contribution.