Bonita Applebum

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"Bonita Applebum"
Bonita Cover.jpg
Single by A Tribe Called Quest
from the album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
B-side "Mr. Muhammad"
Released July 5, 1990
Format digital download, 12" maxi single
Recorded 1989
Length 3:50
Label Jive Records
Songwriter(s) William Henry Allen, Roy Ayers, Edwin Birdsong, Walter Booker, Kamaal Fareed, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Charles Stepney
Producer(s) A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest singles chronology
"I Left My Wallet in El Segundo"
"Bonita Applebum"
"Can I Kick It?"
"I Left My Wallet in El Segundo"
"Bonita Applebum"
"Can I Kick It?"

"Bonita Applebum" is the second single from A Tribe Called Quest's debut album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. It is believed to be based on an actual young woman from the group's high school. The song contains samples of "Daylight" by RAMP, "Memory Band" by Rotary Connection, and "Fool Yourself" by Little Feat.

Music video[edit]

The video directed by Charles Stone III opens with Q-Tip doing the intro by asking Bonita questions, followed by little stick figure cartoon characters who see Bonita and chase after her. The group is seen walking and dancing. Q-Tip starts the first verse at a party. Then the group stops because a kid is seen catching a baseball and they were going to be hit. They stop again because they see a man playing a piano. Soon the kid who was playing baseball is seen dancing, and Q-Tip is behind a violet curtain trying to impress Bonita. The group is wearing helmets while cassette tapes are dropped on them, and the video ends with the group at the party with other people dancing.


A popular "Why remix" was made, which heavily sampled the song "Why" by Carly Simon. Another remix was done in 1993, with a new beat and new lyrics. There is also a third remix titled "Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)" that samples The Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets" and also has new lyrics. It was briefly featured in the film Poetic Justice, which coincidentally stars Q-Tip. In 2015 Pharrell Williams Remix for the upcoming 25th anniversary reissue of their debut album.

Samples and Covers[edit]

  • Biz Markie references the title character in his single "Tear Shit Up".
  • B.o.B used the beat for his song "Put Me On".
  • Jay-Z refers to the song in his single "I Know":

"Bonita Applebum, I gotta put you on. If I didn't when we cuttin' the feeling would be too strong."

"Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on"

"Bonita Applebum you kinda turn me off"

  • The Nextmen sample the words aint no need to question the authority in Break The Mould song
  • Pro Era artist Capital Steez makes a reference in his song "Apex."
  • Joey Badass' group Pro Era finishes off the song "Rosie At Rubber Tracks" with an interlude that references the single. The same song appears with the name "Sorry Bonita" on Summer Knights, the third solo mixtape from Badass.
  • Critically acclaimed Danish rap group Hvid Sjokolade sampled 'Bonita Applebum' on the track "Jeg vil ha' dig" from their 1996 album 'Så'n er vi'
  • Mellowhype's song "La Bonita" references 'Bonita Applebum'

External links[edit]