Entertainment Weekly - "...you'll be rewarded if you listen to it..." - Rating: A-
Mojo (Publisher) (6/00, p.125) - "...TCQ's freestyle jazz-poetry tackles the big issues - diet, tourism, sex and the perils of public lice."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[The album] is more than a nostalgia artifact. It's a worthy listen, not because of what it was, but because of what it is."
A Tribe Called Quest: Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Mohammed, Phife, Jairobi.
Additional personnel: Jarobi And The Rhythm Kids.
Engineers include: Dr. Shane Faber, Bob "Locked" Power, Anthony Saunders.
Recorded at Calliope Studios, Battery Studios and Dumb D.J. Towha's Dew Drop Inn, New York.
Audio Mixer: A Tribe Called Quest.
Liner Note Author: Harry Allen.
Recording information: Battery Studios, NY; Dumb D.J. Towha's Dew Drop Inn; Raunchy Resorts of Calliope Studios.
Illustrators: Bryant Peters; Paije Hunyady.
Photographer: Aristos Marcopoulos.
The narrative of two inner city youths on a pilgrimage across the U.S./Mexican border framing "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo," is a nice guiding metaphor for the door-opening, border-crossing effects PEOPLE'S INSTINCTIVE TRAVELS had on '80s Nuyorcentric hip-hop culture. As the title suggests, b-boys of the Native Tongues era found themselves traveling far from hip-hop's familiar stomping grounds (literally and musically) in order to reach the plane where Zulu Nation elders Red Alert and Afrika Bambataa witnessed it's birth.
ATCQ later stripped their sound down to bare necessities in order to rebuild it, but their debut is as eclectic as the claim-checks adorning your suitcase after a world tour. Accordingly, Tribe expand hip-hop's framework to make room for the continental flavor of "Luck Of Lucien," the Mariachi flavor of "El Segundo," the vibes/sitar hook of "Bonita Applebum" and of course a powerful injection of jazz and soul. More important than the jazz records they sampled, however, was Tribe's resurrection of jazz's spontaneity, play and improvisation, not to mention its bohemian world-view. To paraphrase "Rhythm;" "Look what we did; removed the crust from the third eyelid."