Tag Archives: A Tribe Called Quest


I didn’t come back to California with many souvenirs, but I can never resist picking up a few bargain bin records when I come across them.  I snagged up a copy of Peter Tosh‘s Legalize It that turned out to be too warped to play except for the inner bands of each side (that one was free), and the other one was this, which I would have bought based on the cover alone, even if I had no idea who Minnie Ripperton was.

Minnie Ripperton – Inside My Love

I had some time to just sit back and listen to this record the other day and I was really feelin’ it, and then that break a little after the 3:00 mark came in and I got that aural double-take brain zap that I’m all too familiar with at this point.  This one was especially interesting because I could immediately think of two places where that almost identical sample were used, but I never put together that both of those songs came from the same place until I heard the original.

Busta Rhymes – You Can’t Hold the Torch (feat. Q-Tip)

Electric Wire Hustle – Perception

God I just want to be that bassline in “Perception”, I could just listen to that forever.  I’ve listened to both of these songs so many times, and yes, that Electric Wire Hustle track has the sample playing backwards, but it still seems super obvious now that I’ve heard where they came from.  I also never guessed that the super high-pitched sound that sustains almost all the way through both of these songs is actually Minnie Ripperton’s vocal, she can definitely hit them high notes.

A little deeper digging uncovered a wealth of songs that share this same inspiration as well.  Everybody from Freddie Gibbs to Aaliyah to A Tribe Called Quest to Pharcyde to Killah Priest to 2Pac to Slum Village has used this same little snippet.  Kind of amazing.  I had no idea I was picking up such a significant piece of rap history when I dropped that $0.99 at the Goodwill in Sausalito.  Crazy.

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Those who have been with me from the beginning will remember the very first post I did on this blog where I stumbled across the inspiration for one of my favorite T.I. songs ever: “What You Know“.  Well, I just found out today that the very next rhetorical question-titled single T.I. put out from that same album also has some surprising beginnings.

T.I. – Why You Wanna

I always knew that the chorus was a reference to the beginning of Q-Tip’s second verse in A Tribe Called Quest’s “Find A Way” (there’s actually a remix of “Why You Wanna” that has a Q-Tip verse on it, too), but I didn’t know that the beat also has a notable predecessor.

Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)

Not only that, but during this research I also discovered that that the Roberta Flack song that served as inspiration to “What You Know” that I talked about in that first post ever is actually a reinterpretation of this song.

The Impressions – Gone Away

Now I think “Live In The Sky” was the next single on King, I wonder what I’ll find out about that song in a few months…

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Yeahh, another rap journey for y’all.  In case you missed the first one, these are all about tracking down influences and borrowings and samples through rap music, often ending up far outside the bounds of rap.  I ended up playin a couple of these songs last night at Soul Clap, and it reminded me of this journey I went on recently.  This one was made possible by Andrew, thanks buddy!

So Andrew sent me a link to this Pacific Division track (from a mixtape I assume) that he was feelin, and I thought it was pretty tight too, check it out.

Pacific Division – Put Me On

Many of you will recognize this beat from a while back, it was actually A Tribe Called Quest’s very first single: Bonita Applebum.  I’d heard the song plenty before, but I never thought to check out the video for it until I was gettin’ on this journey, and I was real glad I did.

A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum

Hahaha yeahh, MAD prophylactics.  But this journey’s not over.  Notice that little sitar-sounding-thing that pops in whenever the beat is about to loop back to the beginning?  You’ve heard that before too right….?

The Fugees – Killing Me Softly

Yeah you have.  But now comes the part you might not have picked up on.  I was lucky, my ear caught this one just a few days before Andrew sent me that message about the Pac Div song.  It was on this mixtape Flying Lotus made at the beginning of this past summer called Lovers Melt 2.  Pretty far out shit.

Rotary Connection – Memory Band

And that’s a rap journey y’all!  Dig it

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