Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sky Box Sounds vol. 34 | Midnight Marauders - ATCQ

Band: A Tribe Called Quest
Album: Midnight Marauders (1993)

In lieu of celebrating the birthday of Malik Izaak Taylor, better known as Phife Dawg today and 23 years and a few days removed from the official release of one of my favorite projects from ATCQ, it is only right to commemorate the life of MC and musical legend, Malik Taylor, a member of hip-hop trio/quartet, A Tribe Called Quest.

Rest in Power, Phife Dawg.
November 20, 1970-March 22, 2016 

When I think of Midnight Marauders, my thoughts travel back in time to vague memories of my dad popping this one in the cassette player while lecturing about topics such as music before my time and the role hip-hop plays in the black community. My age at the time didn't matter and I just pretended to understand what he was talking about, as I bobbed my head until the drums on 'God Lives Through' faded out. Even now, as soon as the horns come in on 'Steve Biko', I think of us, and the sweet bonding time between father and daughter. The seeds were definitely planted, but it wasn't until I was much older that I understood the lessons, the lyrics, and the message. This album changed my life; I wasn't aware then, but I'm definitely aware now.

Sentiments aside, if we're discussing albums that still have a very positive and timeless impact, this is absolutely one I refer to without hesitation, absolutely a timeless essential in my own collection. Of all their projects, this record has to be my favorite and it's so underrated. It's where I first fell in love with hip-hop. Infused with jazz and those sultry bass lines and charging drums that commanded my young attention, love was only inevitable. Adding epic bars and unmatched flows to the mix only increased my admiration for this album.

I remember when I discovered who the actual person, Steve Biko, was in school and gaining a deeper understanding of what the song was about. I drifted back to conversations with my father and finally realized the kind of power he'd been instilling in me with Midnight Marauders playing in the background. Whether that was a conscious choice or not, I was still MIND. BLOWN, yet thankful. Even when I listen to the 23 year old album now, I sense the nostalgia of hearing it as a young girl and each time I hear it feels like a brand new listening experience, despite holding the maturity of an older mind.

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