I’ve mentioned before that I listened to a lot of hip-hop when I was growing up. Between 1987 and 1992, it accounted for most of what I listened to. At the time, hip-hop was still relatively young and evolving. Gangsta rap got its start around this time, with acts like N.W.A., Ice Cube and Ice-T putting out seminal albums that are still among the genre’s finest. I had these albums and they were good, but perhaps the social messages – which weren’t entirely lost on me – weren’t intended to resonate so much with a kid going to junior high school in an overwhelmingly white upper-middle class suburb of Pittsburgh.
Instead, I always preferred some of the alternative hip-hop acts, whether it was the positive, upbeat acts like De La Soul or MC Hammer, the zany antics of Digital Underground or Das EFX or other artists that just looked to present a different view of hip-hop like Del tha Funkee Homosapien or A Tribe Called Quest. We’ll be hearing more from some of these artists soon, after all this was a substantial bit of my personal listening history and that’s part of the story I’m telling here. Today, we’ll start with “Scenario”, one of A Tribe Called Quest’s biggest tracks, from 1991’s, The Low End Theory, one of the era’s top albums.