Tuesday, April 05, 2011

90's Hit Parade #74

A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It?

Nice video for the remix, but of course the album mix is what we're talking about here. From about 1984 to the end of the 80's, rap was flowing in one direction: harder. From Run DMC to Public Enemy to NWA, and every step in between, it was all about sounding hard. So it really was a little revolution when De La Soul showed up with their bouncy little tunes based on Schoolhouse Rock songs. And then came the Tribe, with their cool, jazzy sound. Together, they constituted a radical rethinking about what it meant to be a b-boy.

Not all the samples on that first ATCQ album were actually from jazz records, but most of them sounded like it. Such is the case with the most recognizable sample on the album (at least if you grew up listening to rock), Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side," which powers "Can I Kick It?" This was about the same time I was busy dissing Hammer and Vanilla Ice for building songs on clearly recognizable samples, so "Kick It" challenged me a bit to justify how much I loved it. I guess the remix above can justify it fine--it sounds just as good without Lou--or the scratching on the intstrumental bridge, oh it's so nice! But I reckon the fact that, 20 years on, nobody listens to "Can't Touch This" or "Ice Ice Baby" but people still rock this jam has to count for something, right? When the brothers all start to bob their head, from the high tops to the natty dreds, this is the song they're bobbing to.


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