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
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. This album features Consequence, Q-Tip's cousin, frequently on the album.

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 (From the 1971 album "Untouched")
2 "Get a Hold" 3:35 "The Visit (She Was Here)" by The Cyrkle (From the 1967 album "Neon")
3 "Motivators" (featuring. Consequence) 3:20 "Sound Pieces" by Michal Urbaniak (From the 1973 album "The Beginning")
4 "Jam" (featuring. Consequence) 4:38 "Dirty Old Bossa Nova" by Howard Roberts (From the 1963 album "H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player")
5 "Crew" 1:58
6 "The Pressure" 3:02 "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" by Funkadelic (From the 1975 album "Let's Take it to the Stage")
7 "1nce Again" (featuring. Tammy Lucas) 3:49 "Untitled" by Cannonball Adderley (From the 1971 album "Black Messiah")

"I'm Your Pal" by Gary Burton (From the 1967 album "A Genuine Tong Funeral")

8 "Mind Power" (featuring. Consequence) 3:55 "N.T." by Kool & The Gang (From the 1972 album "Live at P.J.'s")
9 "The Hop" 3:27 "Bumpin' Bus Stop" by Thunder & Lightning

"Soft Spirit" by Henry Franklin (From the 1974 album "The Skipper at Home")

10 "Keeping it Moving" 3:38 "Roadwork" by Howard Roberts (From the 1971 album "Antelope Freeway")
11 "Baby Phife's Return" (featuring. Consequence) 3:18
12 "Separate/Together" 1:38 "Funky Drummer" by James Brown (From the 1986 album "In the Jungle Groove")
13 "What Really Goes On" 3:23 "Make it Funky" by James Brown (From the 1972 album "There it Is")

"Pain" by Ohio Players (From the 1971 album "Pain)

14 "Word Play" (featuring. Consequence) 2:59 "The Watcher" by Rodney Franklin (from the 1980 album "You'll Never Know")
15 "Stressed Out" (featuring. Consequence & Faith Evans) 4:57 "Good Love" by Anita Baker (From the 1988 album "Giving You the Best That I Got")

Album singles[edit]

Chart positions[edit]


Year Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/
Hip Hop Albums
1996 1 1


Year Song Chart positions
Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/
Hip-Hop Songs
Hot Rap Tracks Hot Dance Singles Sales
1996 "Stressed Out" 56 15 3
1999 "1nce Again" 30

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
Preceded by
It Was Written by Nas
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 17–23, 1996
Succeeded by
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette