Hoppin over to hip hop
October 12, 2008 12:20 AM   Subscribe

Hip-hop filter: I recently fell in love with A Tribe Called Quest. Who else should I try out?

I never thought I'd ever be into hip hop, but this stuff is just amazing. I'm a straight up punk/ska kind of person, but ever since I came into contact with A Tribe Called Quest, I've been totally enamored. What other collectives/bands/groups/artists should I check out that have a similar style (kinda laid back hip hop, non-rap)?

I'd ask my friends, but most of them would never even consider listening to hip hop.
posted by Geppp to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
How about Murs or Buck 65 or Black Sheep?

Also check out musicovery, you can use that site to explore various styles of music..
posted by aeighty at 12:38 AM on October 12, 2008

Well, some of the obvious choices are Run DMC, Busta Rhymes, the Beastie Boys, Tupac and Biggie Smalls to name a few.

Some more contemporary artists to listen to are Common, Lupe Fiasco, K-os, Atmosphere, Sweatshop Union, Kanye West, Outkast, Eminem ,and Jay-Z.

I'm sure others will give some other suggestions, but those are some basic suggestions for now - just to get a taste of a wide variety of the stuff out there.
posted by jourman2 at 12:50 AM on October 12, 2008

Also see this this and this previous question.
posted by jourman2 at 12:58 AM on October 12, 2008

definiely check out de la soul - "3 feet high and rising" is their first, classic album, but "de la soul is dead" and their third (i forget the name) album are also good. you could check out pharcyde (especially their first album, "bizarre ride II the pharcyde") they're sorta like the west coast version of the tribe. oh, and yeah, the beastie boys second album, paul's boutique, might appeal to tribe fans as well, it's a real underrated classic of an album - it's not as laid back as tribes stuff, but otherwise there are some stylistic similarities. and it IS just funky as hell, and lyricly sorta silly and irreverent instead of heavy and full of bragging or gun talk, sorta like the tribe is.

these days, lupe fiaso is a modern rapper who's style i think has been influenced by the atcq, as well as kanye's first album "college dropout" and "go" by common. there's tons more stuff out there but that ought to help get you started...
posted by messiahwannabe at 1:19 AM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

As someone who grew up in the punk/ska scene as well, I was won over to enjoy some hiphop by Jurrasic 5. Pick up Power in Numbers and you will not be sorry. Also check out The Roots, Wu-Tang, Black Star, and De La Soul.
Black Star, De La Soul, and a Tribe Called Quest were(are) actually part of the Native Tongues Posse collective which includes several other solid acts, some of which have been mentioned already.
While I would recommend against most or all of Eminem, and most Jay-Z, the Jay-Z Unplugged album is worth checking out at least once, and the Grey Album is a must own, it's a remix of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles White Album by DJ Dangermouse who went on to Gnarls Barkley and Gorillaz fame-it's not available in stores, but not too hard to find in certain back alleys of the internet. Despite being completely illegal, it won serious praise in mainstream and alternative circles alike.
posted by piedmont at 1:23 AM on October 12, 2008

If you like Tribe, I would check out:

Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli...they have also each put out some solo albums but the Black Star album is the best, followed by Mos' Black on Both sides)
The Roots (start with Do You Want More?!!? or Things Fall Apart)
De La Soul (De La Soul is Dead, Three Feet High and Rising
The Fugees (The Score, also Lauryn Hill's solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
Common (Like Water for Chocolate)
CunninLynguists (A Piece of Strange)
Digable Planets (Reachin', Blowout Comb)
Little Brother

All of these artists are more intellectual, "concious," (I hate that term) "jazz-rap" or "alternative rap," similar to Tribe. I'd skip Biggie/Pac/Jay/Busta et al. if you already know you don't like gangsta or hardcore rap.

But if you really want to get a feel for real lyricism and understand why people (people like me) love hip hop so much and think that it is, in fact, a worthwhile genre of music, listen to Nas' Illmatic, Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, or Jay-Z's The Blueprint...really listen to what they do with words: the language, the rhyming structure, allusions, alliteration, metaphors and similes, etc. Even if you think the actual music is garbage, you have to acknowledge the skill involved.
posted by cosmic osmo at 1:35 AM on October 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

According to last.fm:
De La Soul
The Pharcyde
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
The Roots
Mos Def
Organized Konfusion
Gang Starr
Brand Nubian
Slum Village
Black Sheep
Talib Kweli
People Under the Stairs
Digable Planets
The Foreign Exchange
Eric B. & Rakim
...pretty good suggestions, really. Nas' Illmatic is a classic and a great crossover album. Cosmic Osmo pretty much hit it all on the head, actually.
posted by Jairus at 1:43 AM on October 12, 2008

Seconding and thirding some of these. My strongest recommendations for groups you might also like:

De La Soul
Common (his earlier stuff only)
Blackstar (and Mos Def and Talib Kweli as solo acts)
The Coup
posted by EnormousTalkingOnion at 1:44 AM on October 12, 2008

oh! and the fugees - laid back, sample-based grooves, conscious lyrics... the score is their best album but there are some great songs on their other albums.

and i cant believe i didn't mention digable planets! their first album is great, there's 4-5 really fantastic songs on there, and stylistically it's maybe the closest group i can think of to tribe, especially the low end theory-era stuff...
posted by messiahwannabe at 2:21 AM on October 12, 2008

Deffo seconding De la Soul, Jurassic 5, Blackalicious.

On a non-English language tip Mc Solaar is well worth a listen, even if you don't speak French.
posted by protorp at 3:38 AM on October 12, 2008

Seconding Pharcyde and de La Soul for funky, laid back, jazzy beats. Pharcyde's lyrics aren't quite as socially conscious, but the beats are great.
posted by Alabaster at 4:35 AM on October 12, 2008

Seconding Gang Starr. Also check out the Jazzmatazz series of albums by one of their members 'Guru.'
posted by TheWaves at 4:35 AM on October 12, 2008

Seconding De La Soul, Jurassic 5 and People Under The Stairs.

Further to earller answers, I'd also suggest Roots Manuva, especially his "Run Come Save Me" album.
posted by tapeguy at 4:49 AM on October 12, 2008

nthing De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Digable Planets, Common. You should also try some KRS-One, Madlib, Aesop Rock, MF Doom. And maybe even some OutKast. Enjoy it - you're in one of the finest areas of hip-hop. (Jam off of Beats, Rhymes, and Life is fantastic.)
posted by arimathea at 5:22 AM on October 12, 2008

jourman2, you're just naming rappers!

Some good advice above, though. The first thing I'd do is make sure you have both the Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest. In my opinion these are their best albums. Then I'd get cracking with cosmic osmo's excellent list. I'd suggest the jumping off point should be De La Soul's second album De La Soul is dead. It's more advanced than 3 Feet High and Rising, and the slightly darker tones and lyrical vibe should follow on nicely from your Tribe excursions.

Well done on opening your ears to hip hop. It's common to see it dismissed out of hand, so it's really nice to see someone discover some of the good stuff out there - there's much more than people realise.
posted by nthdegx at 5:30 AM on October 12, 2008

15 posts in and no mention of Dr. Octagonecologyst? For shame. That's one of the best hip-hop records evar.
posted by word_virus at 9:52 AM on October 12, 2008

posted by Midnight Rambler at 10:03 AM on October 12, 2008

Definitely check out Digable Planets, especially "Blowout Comb". That is a masterpiece that is far too often overlooked. Other than emphasizing that album I pretty much agree with all of the above. Oh, and in reference to word_virus' post, Dr. Octagon is amazing...but I wouldn't associate him with Tribe.
posted by pazoozoo at 10:22 AM on October 12, 2008

I always find this kind of question difficult to answer. What's "hip hop" to some isn't hip hop to others. Like nthdegx mentioned, jourman2's list consists of what I'd consider to be rappers, although a few of them might have produced songs that I'd consider to be hip hop.

That being said, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Pandora. My friends and I have had a lot of success with it (no affiliation to Pandora btw). I am trying to contain my enthusiasm for it, in order to make a meaningful post, but I'll just say, I'm really amazed with how good it is at finding similar songs. Just try it yourself. You might want to create a station based on the ATCQ songs that you like, instead of just ATCQ as a whole (see How can I create a station with a very specific sound?). Thumbs-down songs that don't fit what you're looking for; thumbs-up songs that do.
posted by wuMeFi at 10:52 AM on October 12, 2008

Everyone's suggestions are totally on point. So seconding all, Especially the Native Tongues Posse and Black Star (Album)

Others you might want to check out:

Aceyalone (Eclectic MC, technical flow)
J Dilla (Producer) Madlib (Producer) And maybe everyone on Stones Throw Records.
Edan is a great MC , does his own production.
Y Society is a collaboration between Insight and Damu the Fudgemunk (The latter of which has free beat mixtapes for download)
Panacea is also along the lines of Y Society. In that same affinity group with Insight and Damu.
Cyne is in what I'd like to put in the Neo-Native Tongues. Definitely carrying on the legacy of De la and Tribe.
And Lastly, Nujabes. Everyone likes Nujabes, he's a Japanese producer with a very jazzy feel.

Young padawan, you are about to enter a world and a culture that is expansive, interconnected, and enriching! Enjoy yourself!
posted by saxamo at 11:05 AM on October 12, 2008

Paris, if you can find him.
posted by Area Control at 12:15 PM on October 12, 2008

Oh yeah, MC 900 Foot Jesus is also fun!
posted by Area Control at 12:17 PM on October 12, 2008

MF Doom aka Madvillain (w/ Madlib) aka Dangerdoom (w/ Danger Mouse)
posted by kurtroehl at 1:08 PM on October 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by ostranenie at 3:25 PM on October 12, 2008

Lyrics Born
posted by fshgrl at 6:33 PM on October 12, 2008

I'm excited for you. As much as I love Tribe, I always kinda thought of them as a poor man's De La Soul. I sometimes wish I could go back in time to the day I discovered De La. It is arguable which between "3 Feet High and Rising" and "...Is Dead" is their best album. Both are excellent, and "Buhloone Mindstate" is very good as well. I'd probably start with "...Is Dead" though.

Black Sheep's "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" is great too and so is the Pharcyde's "A Bizarre Ride...". Throw in Brand Nubian's "One for All" and the Jungle Brothers' "Done by the Forces of Nature" and you have the best hip-hop albums of the late 80's/early 90's (at least from the East Coast), and they all would be easy to get into for a Tribe fan.
posted by AceRock at 6:55 PM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but Common Sense's "Resurrection" might be the most perfect hip-hop album of all time.
posted by AceRock at 6:57 PM on October 12, 2008

Just out recently, Tobacco Road by Common Market is a record I'm really enjoying. It's a rap album with a very organic, intellectual, positive vibe that feels classic yet very up-to-date.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 8:19 PM on October 12, 2008

Great suggestions above. I also like Living Legends (some of the crew was mentioned above).
posted by fieldtrip at 8:52 PM on October 12, 2008

wu-tang clan - lots of fun to be had exploring the work of the clan and its warriors
odb - return of the 36 chambers
the gza - liquid swords
method man - tical

souls of mischief (and early del)
de la soul

since you the tribe is what hooked you, blackalicious might be a good segue into the modern, literate stylings

obviously there's a lot of fun to be had with dr. dre and death row, mf doom, dizzee rascal, the cool kids
posted by ageispolis at 10:15 PM on October 12, 2008

MF Doom aka Madvillain (w/ Madlib) aka Dangerdoom (w/ Danger Mouse)

Aka Viktor Vaughn aka King Gheedorah aka Zev Love X aka Doom (no MF)

God I love rap.
posted by cashman at 6:45 AM on October 13, 2008

Cosmic Osmo has a great list, and I'll get shit for this, but if you dig what you hear from the Okayplayer and Native Tongues groups, you should probably grab a few tracks from P.M. Dawn. It's probably still fashionable to totally slam them, but at their best they were the peer to any of these other groups, all of which I love.
posted by anildash at 8:36 AM on October 13, 2008

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