Heds and Dreds: Annotated Tribe Called Quest for the Unseasoned Patois Interpeter

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 HONOREBEL MENTION

Words by Jesse Serwer

If you know your Jazz from your Rhime, you’re probably aware of Phife Dawg’s Caribbean roots. Sometimes thought to to be Jamaican due to his love for reggae and patois inflections, A Tribe Called Quest’s Five Foot Assassin is actually 100-percent Trinidadian. Lesser known is that Q-Tip, too, is of Caribbean heritage: his late father was from Montserrat. Catching the new Tribe documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life last week we were reminded of just how much patois, dancehall lyrics and general yard-isms the Quest MCs spiced their rhymes with. Michael Rapaport’s movie doesn’t delve into this aspect of Tribe’s background but it did have us pulling our Midnight Marauders, The Low End Theory and even The Love Movement LPs out of the crates, and even catching some references we’d never noticed before. Here’s a look at the 10 most yardwise (and Trini-wise) tunes in the Tribe catalog.