GUIDE: Native Tongues
Smart, innovative, Afrocentric, jazzy and lyrical yet capable of starting a party in seconds, the Native Tongues movement was one of the most interesting undercurrents of hip-hop's golden age in the late '80s and early '90s. Led by A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, Native Tongues brought positive rhymes to an increasingly crime-obsessed rap world. As The Chronic told cinematic ghetto tales of violent nihilism (and was still so good), groups like Tribe showed a different path of expression while also making major leaps in sampling and the use of jazz within production.
While the movement never officially ended, its influence has evolved through a new generation of rappers that choose to go smart over horns rather than goonish over synths. Check out our New Native Tongues playlist. From the affiliated Black Star and its rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli to Pharoahe Monch and Shabazz Palaces, many artists have charted new territory with the influence of original Native Tongues groups lodged firmly in their coat pockets.
Also be sure to also check out a more overarching guide to the original Native Tongues movement that we prepared on Spotify.
A Tribe Called Quest - Excursions
De La Soul - Me Myself & I
Jungle Brothers - Because I Got It Like That
Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y.
Black Sheep - The Choice Is Yours
Chi-Ali - Age Ain't Nothing But A #
A Tribe Called Quest - Rock Rock Y'all
Mos Def - Brooklyn
Brand Nubian - Brand Nubian
Leaders Of The New School - Syntax Era
Common - I Used To Love H.E.R.
Jungle Brothers - Feelin Alright
FU-Schnickens - True Fuschnick
Black Sleep - Flavor Of The Month
A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum