Acclaimed Albums – The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 234/250Title: The Low End Theory
Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
Year: 1991
Position: #194

With the list update game a number of new albums from the 1990s, which suddenly means I feel the need to cut them down to the same size as the other remaining decades. As this is an album that saw a further rise within the Top 250 (and has a really interesting album cover) I figured let’s do this next.

Due to my own musical biases I have a lot of hip-hop albums still to go (although nowhere near as much as before), which has been like a crash course into the different types of rap out there. With The Low End Theory I feel like I have seen a whole new side that I didn’t even know existed – jazz rap with lyrics that are not only socially conscious, but actually don’t feel the need to sweat. I’m not a prude when it comes to swearing, it’s just that it’s noticeably missing.

One track that leapt out to me was ‘The Infamous Date Rape’. This isn’t the best song or one with an interesting production particularly, but it’s the subject matter. Other than Beastie Boys, a lot of the rap albums I’ve recently listened to are misogynistic to the point of talking about murdering women. Then you get a track like this which, whilst trading jokes about sex, basically says that if a woman says no – then that’s that. I wish that this wasn’t such an outlandish thing to hear on a hip-hop track.

The rest of the album is a great trade off of raps all set to a fusion of hip-hop and jazz. It’s probably one of those albums that would be worth spending some more time with down the line. It’s helped me refuel a bit and I feel better able to tackle the remaining hip-hop albums within this cut of the list.

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