With A Tribe Called Quest's "Hits, Rarities & Remixes", the title explains it all. The album is an 18 track compilation filled with some of ATCQ's unreleased material, hard to find songs, remixes and hits over the years. The combination of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg & Ali was one of the driving forces in Hip-Hop during the 90's. Their run of three consecutive classic albums with "Peoples Instinctive", "Low End Theory" & "Midnight Marauders" is one that the Hip-Hop world may never see again from today's newer artists.
As a compilation album "Hits, Rarities & Remixes does a nice job of showcasing the Tribe's history and influence, while throwing in some hard to find material that some, less crazed fans, may have not heard before. Most of the material featured on the album can be found from either the Tribe's five albums or their various soundtrack appearances. The classic remix of "Oh My God", featured on "The Love Movements" bonus section, is one of the finest Tribe remixes released. While Busta Rhymes is missing in action for the remix, the track still encompasses that classic Tribe feel with head nodding kick and snares and a newly incorporated horns, that fit to perfection. And as any diehard Tribe fan knows, lyrically Tip & Phife tear the track apart with their respective verses.
The album's only other remix comes from the Tumblin' Dice remake of "Lyrics To Go". The remix doesn't sway too far from the original, but still manages to capture a fresh new feel. The track's sample of "Cosmic Reign" by The Crusaders is just more proof of the Tribe's masterful digging techniques. And as the title states, Phife & Q-Tip have always had "Lyrics To Go" throughout their whole career, which is never more evident than on this track.
The only two unreleased tracks featured on the album are "The Night He Got Caught" and "Mr. Incognito", which was never officially released in the United States. The Ummah produced "The Night He Got Caught" is an amazing Q-Tip tale of a love gone wrong due to both partners cheating ways. Tip has always been one of the most underrated lyricist in Hip Hop and "The Night He Got Caught" is proof as Tip delivers a great story telling track. "The Night He Got Caught" should have definitely showed up on a Tribe album. "Mr. Incognito" is a track Tribe fans have had in their collection for quite some time now, so its no surprise it turns up on "Hits, Rarities & Remixes". It's your usual Tribe track, addicting, catchy and funky. Tip especially blazes the track with his last verse.
Some of the more overlooked Tribe gems throughout their career have come from their numerous soundtrack cuts such as "Same Ol' Thing" off of the "Men In Black Soundtrack", "Peace, Prosperity & Paper" off of the underrated "High School High Soundtrack" & "Glamour & Glitz" off of "The Show Soundtrack". "Same Ol' Thing" has always been one of the more overlooked Tribe tracks in their long career. While it isn't a surprise, due to its appearance on the lackluster "MIB Soundtrack", the track is still phenomenal. The track mirrors Tribe's glory years, with a very hard-core yet smooth vibe. "Glamour & Glitz" represents an earlier jazz vibe from ATCQ, which was featured on the very popular "Show Soundtrack" in 1995. And while "Same Ol' Thing" & "Glamour & Glitz" are both great, one of my personal favorites comes from "Peace, Prosperity & Paper", as I can recall bumping it all day long back in '96. Tip straight rips the tracks first verse, but don't forget Phife, who always comes correct. The tracks hook is also memorable, as it perfectly sums up the Tribes vibe, "all we want in this life is peace, prosperity and a little paper".
The remainder of "Hits Rarities & Remixes" is dedicated to ATCQ's standout hits over the years. Classics such as "Award Tour", "Can I Kick It", "Electric Relaxation", "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo", "Check The Rhime" & "Bonita Applebum" of course make the cut. Hearing each respective track still brings the same feel as it did upon first hearing them. Classic material like this never gets old and only conjures up bright memories from the past. The only problem with the album cuts featured on the album is their sound quality, which is unacceptable and just a lazy move from Jive. You would think Jive would have gone back and boosted the sound quality for these tracks, but I guess we should have known better, as Jive was never one to truly look out for ATCQ's best interest or to satisfy the listening public.
Nevertheless, "Hits, Rarities & Remixes" is a nice collectors edition for diehard Tribe fans or those not familiar with some of the groups non-album cuts. While many will have heard the majority of the album already, for those that haven't it will be a nice look inside ATCQ's remixes, hard to find songs and soundtrack appearances over the years. And even if you have heard everything ATCQ has to offer, the album is still perfect for those days you just wanna chill out and vibe to the classic sounds of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg & Ali. Let's just hope the Tribe's supposed reunion album comes to fruition so we can all witness the rebirth of one of Hip Hop's greatest groups of all time.