A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm


A Tribe Called Quest released their debut studio album “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” on April 10, 1990. The album was produced by A Tribe Called Quest and features vocals by Q-Tip and Phife Dawg.  The majority of the load is carried by Tip with  appearing on 4 tracks.

The album starts off with “Push It Along” where we first get a taste of Q-Tip’s lyrical abilities and he doesn’t disappoint with,

“The boom, the bip, the boom bip
Indicates to the brothers that we be on the flip tip.
Phonies start to crumble, funky rhythm rumbles
Through the dance-hall, but my anthem is humble.
It’s the nitty-gritty, my time is itty-bitty,
So I kick the slash for the gipper and the witty.
This ain’t trial and error, more like tribe and error,
Constantly rude as some sort of tribal terror.
The street can’t depart from the bloody heart.
Repair the wear and tear, don’t start ‘fore it starts.
Won’t be gone for long, listen to the song.
If you can’t pull it, all ya gotta do is”

Luck Of Lucien” continues the uniqueness of this (at the time) new crew and with every verse we love Q-Tip more and more.  He praises the French Hip Hop artist Lucien Revolucien with an entire track thanking the pioneer. One of the greatest Tribe tracks I’ve ever heard!

“From the Zulu nation, from a town called Paris,
Came to America to find liberty.
Instead of finding pleasure, all you found was misery,
But listen, Lucien, you have a friend in me.
Oh, luck luck will drive you butt batty.
Next time you get some wheels, make it a Caddy.
In terms of doing good, I know you wish you really could,
But listen, brother man, I really think you can.
Succeed with the breed of the brothers on your back.
It’s the creme de la creme, and you can bounce with that.
It’ll take a minute, rice, so take my advice.
Trust in us, and thus you trust in your life.
Lucine, Lucien, Lucien, Lucien.
You should know!”

Tracks # 5-8 are the meat of the album and make the album a must buy. On “I Left My Wallet In El SegundoQ-Tip talks about a road tip in his Mom’s 1974 Dodge Dart where he leaves his wallet at a diner “in the middle of nowhere” and then has to travel back to El Segundo to pick up his wallet.  Storyteller Q-Tip huh?

Pubic Enemy” is all about STD’s and how “Jimbrowski” needs to be protected at all times.  The song is infectious!  As soon as you hear it you can’t get it out of your head!  Dopest nursery rhymes I’ve heard yet!

“Old King Cole was a merry old soul
Had a lady queen, married since 18
He protested, that he was infested
Get lots of love and he couldn’t digest it
All propaganda, one big fat lie
Cuz I see the king with my very own eye
Schemed and schemed like a crack fiend king
And poppin up on the teammates scene
And poppin and pimpin on hunnies with moneys
Whole situation to me, was kinda funny
He hold the crown but not the jimmy hat
Now he wears a frown and the jimmy hates that
So the fair maiden in the royal bedroom
Caught the king scratchin, so she had to assume
That he got vicked by the enemy’s trick
The thought of cheatin made the maiden so sick
That she screamed and screamed, went on and kept screamin
Threw a pot and his dome was beamin
You could hear him yellin in the motherland
“Baby, baby please. Baby, understand.”
She ignored and walked through the gate
The king is in the kingdom to await his fate…of the enemy
The Pubic Enemy”

What can I say about “Bonita Applebum” and “Can I Kick It?”  What more can I say about these 2 tracks that hasn’t been said already?  “Bonita Applebum” has to be the flyest love song of all time.  It is not the typical Q-Tip track. It’s slow and it’s perfect that way, which samples the groovy “Daylight” by Ramp.

“38-24-37 (uh, uh, uh!)
You and me, hun, we’re a match made in heaven
I like to kiss ya where some brothas won’t
I like to tell ya things some brothas don’t
If only you could see through your elaborate eyes
Only you and me, hun, the love never dies
Satisfaction, I have the right tactics
And if you need ’em, I got crazy prophylactics
So far, I hope you like rap songs
Bonita Applebum, you gotta put me on”

As for “Can I Kick It” we finally hear from the Phife Diggy when he kicks his memorable verse,

“Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers
Right now, Phife is a poem sayer
At times, I’m a studio conveyor
Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor
Boy this track really has a lot of flavor
When it comes to rhythms, Quest is your savior
Follow us for the funky behavior
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, check your ha-ir
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you’ll savor
Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major
Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air”

Don’t sleep on this masterpiece.  This was a glympse, a taste of what to expect.  So when we get to hear Phife Dawg on almost every track, they get that much better. This was mostly all Q-Tip, but it was the beginning of one of the greatest one-two-punches in Hip Hop History!  RIP PHIFE DAWG

-Al E.


Our Rating

7.5 Overall Score

8 Al Escalante

7 Johnny V

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