Can I Kick It?

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"Can I Kick It?"
Can I Kick.jpg
Single by A Tribe Called Quest
from the album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
B-side"If the Papes Come"
ReleasedOctober 29, 1990
Recorded1989
GenreHip hop
Length4:12 (album version)
4:24 (The Anthology version)
6:39 (boilerhouse mix)
LabelJive
Songwriter(s)Lewis Reed, Kamaal Fareed, Malik Taylor, Ali Muhammad
Producer(s)A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest singles chronology
"Bonita Applebum"
(1990)
"Can I Kick It?"
(1990)
"Check the Rhime"
(1991)
Music video
"Can I Kick It?" on YouTube

"Can I Kick It?" is a 1990 song by American hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, released as the third single from their debut album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990).[1] The song, which has a call and response chorus, was recorded in 1989, when the band members were aged 18-19.[2]

The song contains samples of "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed,[3] "What a Waste" by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, "Spinning Wheel" by Dr. Lonnie Smith, "Dance of the Knights" by Sergei Prokofiev and "Sunshower" by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band. Phife Dawg has stated that, because of the use of the "Walk on the Wild Side" sample, the group did not receive any money from the single, with Lou Reed instead claiming the profits.[3]

"Can I Kick It?" appears on the band's 1999 compilation album, The Anthology, with the outro of "Bonita Applebum" added to the beginning of the song. In 2012, NME listed the song at number 90 in their ranking of the "100 Best Songs of the 1990s".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick from Billboard stated that "inspired use of samples from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" nicely complements tribe's relaxed and confident rhyming."[5] A reviewer from Music & Media noted that "the New York rap crew proves their music can be 'double -streetwise'" and described the song as "two-dimensional rap".[6] NME called it a "laidback chant-a-long".[4] Gary Crossing from Record Mirror wrote, "You can't go far wrong with this groovy little shanty. Take a dash of Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side', a splash of Ian Dury's 'What A Waste', a sprinkling of rap and a pinch of Seventies funk to create this masterpiece of contemporary popular music."[7] Caroline Sullivan from Smash Hits said that "they've had the sense to nick the bassline from the elderly rock hit "Walk on the Wild Side", and it gives their effort a bit of slinky class."[8]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Can I Kick It?" was directed by American music video director and video editor Jim Swaffield. It features A Tribe Called Quest and various others, including members of De La Soul, literally kicking the word "it" while rapping on a film set, a park (located under the Williamsburg Bridge in New York’s Lower East Side), and a construction site. On the film set, they are seen playing with the tittle of the "i" in "it". In the park, they are walking around and are flipping on top of the "it". The video also features the participants throwing drumsticks around and landing them on drums. A "flying record player" is featured, to play the Lou Reed sample. Additionally, there is a slightly different beat in the video, but the same lyrics from the album are used.

Impact and legacy[edit]

In 2012, NME listed "Can I Kick It?" at number 90 in their ranking of the "100 Best Songs of the 1990s".[4]

In 2021, Rolling Stone included it in their list of "500 Best Songs of All Time".[9]

Track listing[edit]

12" and cassette single, US (1990)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (Spirit Mix)4:11
2."Can I Kick It?" (Radio Edit)3:23
3."Can I Kick It?" (Phase 5 Mix)4:33
4."Can I Kick It?" (Spirits)2:02
5."If the Papes Come"5:46
6."If the Papes Come" (Remix)4:14
7."Can I Kick It?" (LP Version)4:11
12" single, UK (1990)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)6:40
2."Can I Kick It?" (Phase 5 Mix)4:33
3."Can I Kick It?" (LP Version)4:11
4."If the Papes Come" (Remix)4:14
7" and cassette single, UK (1990)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (Boilerhouse Mix)3:54
2."Can I Kick It?" (7" Radio Edit)3:26
CD single, UK (1990)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (7" Radio Edit)3:26
2."Can I Kick It?" (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)6:40
3."Can I Kick It?" (Phase 5 Mix)4:33
4."If the Papes Come" (Remix)4:14
Six Wicked Mixes, Germany (1991)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (Boilerhouse Mix)4:18
2."Can I Kick It?" (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)6:40
3."Can I Kick It?" (U.S. Spirit Mix)4:14
4."Can I Kick It?" (Album Version)4:14
5."Can I Kick It?" (Phase 5 Mix)4:21
6."Can I Kick It?" (U.S. Edit)3:23
CD single, UK (1992 reissue)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)6:40
2."Can I Kick It?" (Phase 5 Mix)4:33
3."Hot Sex" (Album Version)2:45
4."Hot Sex" (Instrumental Version)2:45
12" single, UK (1992 reissue)
No.TitleLength
1."Can I Kick It?" (7" Radio Edit)3:26
2."Hot Sex" (Radio Version)2:48
3."Can I Kick It?" (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)6:40
4."Can I Kick It?" (Instrumental)4:11

Charts[edit]

Chart (1991) Peak
position
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 13
UK Singles (OCC)[12] 15
UK Dance (Music Week)[13] 1
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[14] 8

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Today in Hip Hop History: A Tribe Called Quest Releases Debut Album". The Source. April 17, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  2. ^ Trendell, Andrew (July 3, 2015). "10 Brilliant Songs Written By Stars in Their Teens". Gigwise. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Lou Reed dead: Tribe Called Quest sampled late legend's 'Walk on the Wild Side'". The Grio. October 28, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "100 Best Songs Of The 1990s". NME. May 8, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  5. ^ Flick, Larry (November 3, 1990). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 83. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. January 26, 1991. p. 16. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  7. ^ Crossing, Gary (January 5, 1991). "Singles". Record Mirror. p. 11. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (January 9, 1991). "Review: Singles". Smash Hits. No. 316. p. 49. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "500 Best Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 15, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – A Tribe Called Quest" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  11. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  12. ^ "A TRIBE CALLED QUEST". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. January 19, 1991. p. xii. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  16. ^ "25 Years Later: A Tribe Called Quest's "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm" Album Still Holds Weight". The Boombox. April 17, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  17. ^ "What Is The Song In The Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl 2021 Commercial? - Looper.com". looper.com. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Movie Review: Tom and Jerry on HBO Max - Vulture". vulture.com. Retrieved 18 March 2021.