• A Tribe Called Quest "Midnight Marauders" LP
Precise. Bass Heavy. Just right. These are the three qualifiers that encapsulate Midnight Marauders. All of them accurate.
With their third album released 25 years ago, A Tribe Called Quest established that even with two great albums under their collective belts, they weren’t done developing as artists. John “Q-Tip” Davis a.k.a. Kamaal Fareed, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed had already earned the adoration of dedicated hip-hop heads and fans of other genres with their previous projects. But with Midnight Marauders, they cemented their legend.
Tribe were in a difficult position when working to put together Midnight Marauders: how do you follow up literally one of the best hip-hop albums of all time? Following their debut People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths Of Rhythm (1990), their sophomore LP The Low End Theory (1991) showcased the group’s vastly improved production chops and rhyming abilities. With their second album, they created perfect music to chill and vibe out to. It was a masterful artistic achievement.
So how do you top that? Well, with Midnight Marauders, Tribe got better at what they were already good at doing. The Low End Theory was known for its trunk rattling lows, both through the use of dynamic baselines and innovative drum tracks, and its use of jazz samples. With Midnight Marauders, Tribe improved upon what they were already great at, while remaining true to what got them there in the first place. Midnight Marauders remains Tribe’s most universally beloved album, appealing to any and all musical audiences.