Beats, Rhymes and Life

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This article is about the 1996 A Tribe Called Quest album. For the 2004 Outlandish album, see Beats, Rhymes & Life. For the documentary film, see Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest.
Beats, Rhymes and Life
Studio album by A Tribe Called Quest
Released July 30, 1996
Recorded 1995–1996; Battery Studios, New York, New York
Genre Hip hop
Length 51:18
Label Jive/BMG Records
Producer The Ummah
Rashad Smith
A Tribe Called Quest chronology
Midnight Marauders
Beats, Rhymes and Life
The Love Movement
Singles from Beats, Rhymes and Life
  1. "1nce Again"
    Released: July 1, 1996
  2. "Stressed Out"
    Released: November 11, 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Consumer Guide (3-star Honorable Mention)[2]
Entertainment Weekly A[3]
NME 7/10[4]
Q 4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[7]
The Source 4/5[8]
Spin 7/10[9]

Beats, Rhymes and Life is the fourth album of the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Released in 1996, it followed three years after the highly regarded and successful Midnight Marauders. This album is a departure from the joyful, positive vibe of the earlier albums and is regarded as the group's darkest album in content. It reached number-one on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B Albums charts.


The album was also the first to feature production work from The Ummah, a group that was composed of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jay Dee. One topic on this album was the Death Row vs. Bad Boy rivalry. The album frequently features rapper Consequence, Q-Tip's cousin.

It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 1997 and contains a single titled "1nce Again" that was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group the same year.[10] It was certified Platinum by the RIAA on October 27, 1998,[11] even though it was not regarded as highly as the group's first three albums.

The video version of "Stressed Out" has Phife Dawg rhyming on the second verse instead of Consequence. However, Phife's verse does not appear on the album.

In the song "Keeping It Moving," Q-Tip responds to the diss comments made about him on Westside Connection's song "Cross ’Em out and Put a K" by saying that comments made about the West from some time before the album were not intended to diss the west coast and that people should not misinterpret his lyrics.

Track listing[edit]

  • All tracks produced by The Ummah, except track 9 produced by Rashad Smith
No. Title Time Samples
1 "Phony Rappers" (featuring Consequence) 3:35 "Blind Alley" by The Emotions
2 "Get a Hold" 3:35 "The Visit (She Was Here)" by The Cyrkle
3 "Motivators" (featuring Consequence) 3:20 "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
"Irena" by Michał Urbaniak
4 "Jam" (featuring Consequence) 4:38 "Dirty Old Bossa Nova" by Howard Roberts
5 "Crew" 1:58 "Suburban Family Lament" by Ruth Copeland
6 "The Pressure" 3:02 "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" by Funkadelic
7 "1nce Again" (featuring Tammy Lucas) 3:49 "Untitled" by Cannonball Adderley
"I'm Your Pal" by Gary Burton
8 "Mind Power" (featuring Consequence) 3:55 "N.T." by Kool & the Gang
"Submission" by Tyrone Washington
9 "The Hop" 3:27 "Soft Spirit" by Henry Franklin
"Bumpin' Bus Stop" by Thunder and Lightning
10 "Keeping It Moving" 3:38 "Roadwork" by Howard Roberts
11 "Baby Phife's Return" (featuring Consequence) 3:18 "Midnight Theme" by Manzel
"Sam Enchanted Dick (Medley)" by Jack Bruce
12 "Separate/Together" 1:38 "Funky Drummer" by James Brown
13 "What Really Goes On" 3:23 "Make It Funky" by James Brown
"Pain" by Ohio Players
14 "Word Play" (featuring Consequence) 2:59 "The Watcher" by Rodney Franklin
15 "Stressed Out" (featuring Consequence & Faith Evans) 4:57
* "Stressed Out" (Remix featuring Consequence & Faith Evans) (Japan reissue bonus track)


Chart (1996) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[12] 28
US Billboard 200[13] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[16] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Beats, Rhymes and Life – A Tribe Called Quest". AllMusic. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: A Tribe Called Quest". Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Tyehimba, Cheo (August 9, 1996). "Beats, Rhymes and Life". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes and Life". NME: 51. August 1, 1996. 
  5. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes and Life". Q (121): 172. October 1996. 
  6. ^ Hardy, Ernest (August 8, 1996). "Beats, Rhymes and Life". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "A Tribe Called Quest". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 822. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  8. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes and Life". The Source (84): 145. September 1996. 
  9. ^ Hermes, Will (September 1996). "A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes and Life". Spin. 12 (6): 149–50. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ - Beats Rhymes & Life - Tribe Called Quest - CD
  11. ^ [1] Archived November 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  13. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest – Chart history" Billboard 200 for A Tribe Called Quest. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for A Tribe Called Quest. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  15. ^ "Canadian album certifications – A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes and Life". Music Canada. 
  16. ^ "American album certifications – A Tribe Called Quest". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
It Was Written by Nas
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 17–23, 1996
Succeeded by
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette