Moments: A Tribe Called Quest Drops “Midnight Marauders” [November 9, 2013]

That video right there…sent me through an uncontrollable feeling. When I seen that video I went crazy and didn’t even understand why. I watched Rap City front to back to record this video on VHS and I would BANG THIS on my old school tube TV…I had never felt I NEEDED to buy music more than I did when I heard this song.

I had two paper routes at the time..I found out the name of the album, asked my mom to take me to Walmart and with my Journal Standard/Wednesday Advertiser money, I purchased my very first hip-hop album, A Tribe Called Quest – “Midnight Marauders”.

I pretty much studied this album. Even dubbed it on a tape to play in my walkman while riding my bike. I still to this day have the copy I bought and although a little rusty word for word, I can still rock this album! HA!

Who knew when The Tribe dropped this album on November 9th 1993 that it would literally change my life. I became a real hip-hop fan to this album. I was a fan of the MUSIC! Not how tough they were, how many units they sold and I NEVER heard this song on the radio [Partially because my town didn’t have a hip-hop station we could listen to] Award Tour and The Tribe found ME and from that moment on I became an official fan, supporter and collector of Hip-Hop Music.

One day I’m going to meet the Tribe [All 4 Members Lord Willing] and I want to just talk to them and thank them for putting out this album. It would truly mean the world to me just to see where they were mentally when recording and what their expectations were. I want to break down track for track why this album was what it was and revisit the Classic with its creators. That will be a Milestone for the @BehindTheRhyme brand no question!

Salute, Respect and Appreciation to A Tribe Called Quest! Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip and Jarobi….A,E,I,O,U…and sometimes Y.


The Lesson from Uncle Luke

Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell is the most under appreciated pioneer in hip-hop, ever! It didn’t really sink in until listening to him speak last night. I never realized that in nearly 30 years, Uncle Luke has never won anything to reflect his undeniable contribution to the hip-hop culture. It made me look at myself and I realized a valuable lesson.

No matter how good, bad or innovative you are, you may never get the true credit you deserve from the world. You could spend your prime years doing what you do, like no one else and never get the respect you truly have earned. That’s why it’s important to do what you love for the validation of you. Be the success you want to be and then help as many people as you can around you. That’s the greater reward. Being a creator of success for others.

When people speak of the south, they always name Scarface/Geto Boys, T.I, Master P and even Outkast when they talk about Kings, Legends and Pioneers of Southern Hip-Hop. Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew were battling the Supreme Court over Freedom of Speech before any of them had a hit single or record deal. Much like today Colin Kaepernick is the pioneer of his time for expressing free speech and freedom to protest as a pro athlete. He’s not the greatest QB ever. He’s never won a Super Bowl, but his social and cultural impact is undeniable. They try to discredit and undermine his purpose and message, but it’s no denying the realness of the issues he speaks of if you just stop and make yourself aware of the world you live in.

Uncle Luke may not be a world renown and revered pioneer, but in his city and state, he is an undisputed well respected legend. The man who wanted nothing more than to be respected in hip-hop turned around and gave love and opportunity to his community. From the Miami Hurricanes athletes, to his own youth league. From Pitbull to Khaled, Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. No one of the hip-hop culture has become a success out of Miami without the love and assistance of Uncle Luke. That’s the true mark of never being a “hater” and really wanting everyone around you to win. There aren’t many people like Uncle Luke in the world, let alone hip-hop.

The principles that Uncle Luke have are definitely ones that every man and woman should live by. Be you, do you, get yours and give back. Help the next man or woman to be as great as you if not greater. Be a leader in your community. Help and encourage the youth. Don’t be fueled by accolades and acknowledgements. Understand the respect of the people is all you will ever need because they are the true mark of a great legacy. How does a pioneer of that character not get the respect he deserves? Respect to Uncle Luke.

Rap Superstars Need To Attack Trump Like Eminem

For years I’ve heard how Eminem doesn’t rap about anything and how his content is “just not for me”, but the reality is, Eminem has been very critical of White America and politicians since The Marshall Mathers LP. All this information is available on Google and on your favorite streaming service, if you want to hear it to a beat, so lets talk last night.

Eminem verbally ripping Donald Trump on BET sent me through a range of emotions. First emotion was joy cause I love hearing Eminem rap about anything. He’s still the greatest rhymer of words, ever. Dr Seuss had to step aside after “The Eminem Show”. Sorry. Second emotion was shock. Shock because even I expected more “Slim Shady-esque” bars in his cypher, but once he got rolling he kept it all venomous business. The third emotion was unfortunately disappointment.

My disappointment was for this reason. We need all the rap superstars of today to go in like that. We need the 90’s legends that are still putting out music to get on this too. The superstars will help the future of the culture get more light. YG and Nipsey Hussle should have had a diamond single with “Fuck Donald Trump”. Joey Bada$$ album “All Amerikkkan Badass” should be front runner for album of the year with 5 million sold/streamed because of his content reflecting the time we live in. T.I’s “US or Else” needed way more support and although dated, David Banner’s “The God Box” should be at least double platinum. If hip-hop is truly as mad as we look on social media about the world today, that’s where the culture should be shifting.

How is the culture and music that produced direct shots like “Motherf**k him and John Wayne” “F**k Bush” now resulting to “Agent Orange” as a way to take a stand? Sorry, that’s pathetic. No other rapper with access to a platform like Eminem has taken it upon themselves to speak on Donald Trump, society or the state of the world since inauguration day. I don’t mean speak like Twitter war. I don’t mean speak like yelling “Fuck Donald Trump” at a concert. I mean speak like songs that stay on topic. I mean rapping in depth like Eminem. The white rapper, who’s consistent knock from his critics is “he topics are dated” just ripped Donald Trump for everything he’s done from Campaign to the Nevada shooting in 4 minutes. Color has nothing to do with it overall, but here’s my issue. The black delegation will constantly criticize Eminem and Macklemore, but our black superstars remain recluse when we need to hear from them most. I don’t want them to run for office. I want them to rap!

We love to big up Kendrick, Cole, Kanye and say how “they saying something” but what have they directly said about society today? I say those names specifically because these are supposed to be the guys with “the classic albums”. These are the guys “speaking for us”. Even though time and time I’ve said, “They rapping they ass off, but what’s so “deep” about the content?”

As a fan of hip-hop I know that no rapper has to speak for me nor do I expect them to. However, I’m not going to sit here and not see the game for what it is. Hip-Hop is under attack. That means black culture is under attack. Today’s rapper is so scared to lose money, fans and make people upset that they now just don’t say anything or shoot subliminal shots. That’s not the hip-hop I grew up on. The hip-hop I grew up on wouldn’t give Donald Trump a nickname and half a bar or a disguised social media rant. I understand making a living. I understand the fear of losing it all and having a family to provide for. What I don’t understand is not using the principles that hip-hop culture was built on.

As a hip-hop community we are so quick to call every song and project classic and every artist with rhyming ability great when they aren’t even producing music that is reflecting the time we live in. Don’t get it confused. The content is out there. I’m saying it’s not there from the artist getting the most praise in the game for content right now.

I hope Eminem’s one man cypher gives hip-hop more courage. I’m dying to fall in love with hip-hop all over again. I also plan to do my part as a person in the culture. I’ve already started with my “Here’s What I Think About You…” piece on the composition section of this site. Fist Up Hip-Hop! We got work to do!