Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders [Jive, 1993]
Like so many "beats," Low End Theory's Ron Carter bass was really a glorified sound effect--what excited its admirers wasn't its thrust, or even the thrill of the sound itself, so much as the classiness it signified. Kicking off with a disembodied computer voice promising "presentation precise, bass-heavy, and just right," this follow-up makes that bass rock the house, literally, and never contents itself with concept. Right, they "kick more game than a crackhead from Hempstead." But rather than "kick a rhyme over ill drumrolls," as I don't doubt they can, they construct horn hooks I love better than I understand. A-