Reprinted from the August 1995 edition of The 411:
It seems impossible that it was only five years ago that A Tribe Called Quest first dropped something for heads to nod to with their debut album. Quest, Q-Tip, and more recently Phife and Ali Shaheed Muhammed have become synonymous with hip-hop. This crew is proof that longevity, respect and cashflow can be achieved without gimmicks, sellout or style-of-the-minute image. From this disc to present, Quest has brought musically innovative material along with improved lyrics each time out.
It was their debut album, though, which cemented their status in the industry from the beginning. It was People's Instinctive Travels... along with the Jungle Brothers' and De La Soul's debuts, that familarized the hip-hop nation with the Native Tongue Family and their brand of laid-back, intelligent and soulful flavor. The self-writing and production by Quest ensured that their style was fully evidenced and it was a style which had few peers at the time. The use of jazz horns, diverse samples and the fresh voices of Q-Tip and Phife combined to create memorable jams which would influence future MCs and provide plenty of material to sample.
Being a classic I shouldn't have to remind anyone what jams were on this disc, but for those who were just little shorties or all y'all forgetful fools I'll do it. "Bonita Applebum" and "Can I Kick It?" seemed to be everyone's favorite at one time or another. Other tracks which weighed in phat were "Rhythm," "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" and "Footprints." My personal closet classic on this joint though was "Luck of Lucien," which freaked a sample of the French national anthem and a funked out seventies horn section.
This disc should be required listening for any aspiring MC or would-be rapper. Regardless of whether you like the music, hate it or could care less about it, this is a perfect example what "keepin' it real" is all about. These kids take no shorts and pander to nobody; they do exactly what they want, musically and lyrically. The result is classic.