Curren$y, Pharoahe Monch & Phonte Reflect On "Midnight Marauders"
Numerous artists from across the the musical spectrum recall personal moments related to A Tribe Called Quest's 1993 album.
In celebration of the album's 20th anniversary, MySpace Music recently talked to 16 music artists about their best memories regarding Midnight Marauders as each gave different accounts.
Curren$y said everything about the group and the album influenced him. He also says its importance is still relevant today.
"I’m such a fan of that album," he said when asked about the 20-year old album. "I love the artwork and everything they did to support their videos at the time, they’re still around. They still play ATCQ’s videos from that album and you can’t even ask a rapper for their Top 5 videos, without one of those videos in it. With that being said, this far down the line, for us to even talk about Midnight Marauders right now, shows its impact. There’s shoes dedicated to the album, too, the [Air Jordan I Retro High Strap.]"
When fellow Queens, New York native Pharoahe Monch was asked about the album, he said Tribe, specifically Q-Tip, captured the essence of his hometown well, and that "Electric Relaxation" and "Midnight" are his favorite songs.
"Tribe influenced everyone who listened to this album musically," he said. "Q-Tip would always blow me away with his word selection and vocabulary. He personified the art of captivating the listener with just one word in a verse—it would be something no one had used before and was so essential to the song and rhyme pattern. For my favorite song I want to say 'Electric Relaxation' but 'Midnight' captured Queens so much for me being from Southside Jamaica. Queens has a way of being still and quiet and almost suspended in time; that stillness often gets mistaken for a calmness in a good way but people from Queens understand the darkness that is this calm I speak of. It’s actually kind of scary, sort of like danger is lurking. It’s the calmness before something really tragic happens and for me Tribe captured the essence of that on 'Midnight.'"
Phonte also weighed in on the impact Midnight Marauders had on him initially.
"The first time I heard Midnight Marauders I was on the bus on my way to a wrestling match," Phonte recalled. "I was in ninth grade in high school. I had the tape and for some reason I just put it in and the introduction came on—[Mimics female announcer voice] 'Hello, this is your Midnight Marauder program…'—and I was like, What is this shit? It’s crazy! I let it play and I remember turning the tape over and hearing “Electric Relaxation” and, man, it was over. I don’t even remember if we won the wrestling match that day."
He continued by saying he related to Q-Tip more than Phife Dawg when it came to the emceeing/producing side.
I think I kinda related with Q-Tip a little bit more than Phife ’cause when I was young my voice was kinda nasally and a bit like Q-Tip’s so I sided with him more. Plus Q-Tip made beats and I used to try and make beats when I was younger. But Phife was dope as well, you know, they definitely had a chemistry that was incredible. They played off each other well and they balanced each other out.
Read the full piece by MySpace here including recounts from RJD2, Buckshot, IAMSU!, Don Cannon, Black Milk and more.