Midnight Marauders

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Midnight Marauders
Studio album by A Tribe Called Quest
Released November 9, 1993 (1993-11-09)
Recorded November 1992–September 1993
Genre Alternative hip hop, jazz rap
Length 51:12
Label Jive
Producer A Tribe Called Quest, Skeff Anselm, Large Professor
A Tribe Called Quest chronology
The Low End Theory
Midnight Marauders
Beats, Rhymes and Life
Singles from Midnight Marauders
  1. "Award Tour"
    Released: November 1993
  2. "Electric Relaxation"
    Released: 1994
  3. "Oh My God"
    Released: May 30, 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[2]
Christgau's Consumer Guide A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly A[4]
NME 7/10[5]
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[8]
The Source 4/5[9]
Spin 4.5/5 stars[10]

Midnight Marauders is the third album by hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, released November 9, 1993 on Jive Records. It was released two years after A Tribe Called Quest's second album, The Low End Theory, and reached #1 on the R&B/HipHop Charts and #8 on the Billboard 200 in 1993.[11] Midnight Marauders is also seen by many fans and critics as a classic jazz rap album along with The Low End Theory.


The album Midnight Marauders was a critical and commercial success, especially the hit single "Award Tour". "Award Tour" was the first single released from the album and it is their highest charting single to date. It peaked at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #1 on the U.S. Hot Rap Singles Chart. The single features Trugoy from De La Soul on the chorus. Subsequent singles released from the album were, in order, "Electric Relaxation" and "Oh My God" which featured a sample of former Leaders of the New School Emcee Busta Rhymes on the chorus. The same sample of Busta Rhymes was also used on the last track of the album "God Lives Through".

The listener is guided through the program by a robotic voiced woman played by Laurel Dann. As this voice tells the listener at the end of "Award Tour", the meaning of the album's title derives from a figure that "seven times out of ten, we listen to our music at night", hence the "Midnight", and that the word maraud means to loot, and A Tribe Called Quest is "marauding for ears".[12] One of the group members, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, described the album's name this way: "We decided to call the album 'Midnight Marauders' because A Tribe Called Quest are like sound thieves looting your ears."

With this album, A Tribe Called Quest "shifted their attention to more urban concerns".[13] Rather than simply discussing violence, the group's songs tell stories about everyday events such as a trip to a bodega or getting a milkshake.[14] However, while they have paid more attention to everyday life, the album is still mattered with typical Hip Hop subjects such as racial issues and sexual tension.

Midnight Marauders is one of three A Tribe Called Quest albums on The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[15] On January 12, 1994 it was certified and it reached platinum status one day less than a year later on January 11, 1995.[16] It is also one of three A Tribe Called Quest albums to be certified platinum by the RIAA.[17]

Some of the songs have been used in television shows and other media. The song "Electric Relaxation" was used during the opening theme for The WB sitcom The Wayans Bros. Of all the videos for this album, "Oh My God" is the only track from the album with a full color music video. The original version of "The Chase Part Two", called "The Chase", uses the same beat, but instead features Consequence without the other members, and can be found as a b-side to "Award Tour". The European Version of the album features the bonus track “Hot Sex” which was featured in the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang in 1992. Later it was released on the bonus disc of the group's fifth studio album The Love Movement in 1998.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Midnight Marauders Tour Guide"     0:45
2. "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)"     3:11
3. "Award Tour" (featuring Trugoy the Dove)   3:46
4. "8 Million Stories"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Skeff Anselm 4:30
5. "Sucka Nigga"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Freddie Hubbard 4:05
6. "Midnight" (featuring Raphael Wiggins)   3:49
7. "We Can Get Down"     4:19
8. "Electric Relaxation"     4:04
9. "Clap Your Hands"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Bob James, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr., Cyril Neville, Joseph Modeliste 3:16
10. "Oh My God" (featuring Busta Rhymes)   3:29
11. "Keep It Rollin'" (featuring Large Professor) Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Mitchell 3:05
12. "The Chase, Part II"     4:02
13. "Lyrics to Go"   Davis, Muhammad, Taylor, Steve Arrington, Victor Godsey, Buddy Hankerson 4:09
14. "God Lives Through"     4:15
European bonus track
No. Title Length
15. "Hot Sex"   2:45
Japan bonus track
No. Title Length
16. "Electric Relaxation (Relax Yourself Girl)" (Instrumental) 3:48

Additional credits[edit]

# Title Notes
1 "Midnight Marauders Tour Guide"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Aquarius" by Cal Tjader

2 "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Blackstone Legacy" by Woody Shaw
Sample: "Ekim" by Michał Urbaniak

3 "Award Tour"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "We Gettin' Down" by Weldon Irvine
Sample: "Advice" by Sly & the Family Stone
Sample: "Lowdown" by Charles Earland
Sample: "Don't Walk Away" by Jade
Sample: "Olinga" by Milt Jackson

4 "8 Million Stories"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor, S. Anselm
Sample: "Bettina" by Bola Sete
Sample: "Over the Rainbow" by Ohio Players

5 "Sucka Nigga"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor, Freddie Hubbard
Sample: "Red Clay" by Jack Wilkins
Sample: "Kissing My Love" by Cold Blood

6 "Midnight"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "North Beach" by George Duke
Sample: "Psychedelic Shack" by Albino Gorilla

7 "We Can Get Down"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier
Sample: "Martin's Funeral" by Bill Cosby
Sample: "My Melody" by Eric B. & Rakim

8 "Electric Relaxation"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Outside Love" by Brethren
Sample: "Dreams" by Ramsey Lewis
Sample: "Mystic Brew" by Ronnie Foster

9 "Clap Your Hands"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor, B. James, L. Nocentelli, G. Porter, C. Neville, J. Modeliste
Sample: "Nautilus" by Bob James
Sample: "Ode to Billie Joe" by Lou Donaldson
Sample: "Handclapping Song" by The Meters
Sample: "New World" by Woody Shaw

10 "Oh My God"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Who's Gonna Take Weight" by Kool & the Gang
Sample: "Why Can't People Be Colors Too?" by The Whatnauts
Sample: "Absolutions" by Lee Morgan
Sample: "Damn Right I'm Somebody" by Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s

11 "Keep It Rollin'"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor, W. Mitchell
Sample: "Feel Like Making Love" by Roy Ayers

12 "The Chase, Part II"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor, Steve Arrington, Victor Godsey, Buddy Hankerson
Sample: "Nobody Beats the Biz" by Biz Markie
Sample: "Beddie-Biey" by Steve Arrington

13 "Lyrics to Go"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Just Enough Room for Storage" by James Brown
Sample: "Inside My Love" by Minnie Riperton
Sample: "The Mixed Up Cup" by Clyde McPhatter

14 "God Lives Through"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "And That's Saying a Lot" by Christine McVie
Sample: "On Love" by David T. Walker
Sample: "Gimme Some More" by The J.B.'s
Sample: "Dig on It" by Jimmy McGriff

* "Hot Sex"

Songwriters: J. Davis, A. Muhammad, M. Taylor
Sample: "Who's Making Love" by Lou Donaldson

Cover art[edit]

The back vinyl cover of Midnight Marauders

Widely respected and admired for their success and artistry throughout the hip hop scene, and preternaturally inclined to accept this adulation with grace and humility, the group elected to summon fellow hip hoppers whose work as artists and actions as human beings they respected, and photographed headshots of each for arrangement on the album's cover and liner-notes insert. And like The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, it serves as a time capsule of the era: a who's who of hip hop circa 1993.

According to ego trip's Book of Rap Lists, there are a reported 71 different hip hop luminaries and radio DJ's who adorned Midnight Marauders. The cover was issued in three different color schemes- red, black, and green (with black being the rarest). The book goes into detail as to which artists were on which particular album cover using a number scheme to easily identify each artist. The complete list of artists is as follows:

The album artwork of Midnight Marauders was the source of inspiration for a collection of products released by the Air Jordan Brand that includes T-shirts and sneakers and was released February 2009. The sneakers, officially called Air Jordan I Retro High Strap, were often called Midnight Marauders Air Jordan I or A Tribe Called Quest Air Jordan I by customers and featured a design of red, green and black. Two of the T-shirt designs include a wing design and a design mimicking the album cover of Midnight Marauders.

It also served as inspiration for a T-shirt by Munich-based clothing company Beastin', showing the members of the original 1992 Dream Team, as well as for other works of album artwork (such as the Talking Heads' 2004 compilation album The Best of Talking Heads).


The information is taken from Acclaimedmusic.net[18] and other website links below.

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Ego Trip United States Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980-98 1999 #2
Exclaim! Canada 100 Records that Rocked 100 Issues 2000 *
Pitchfork Media United States Top 100 Albums of the 1990s [redux] 2003 #75
The Source USA The Source 100 Best Hip-Hop Albums of All Time 1998 *
The Guardian United Kingdom 100 Albums that Don't Appear in All Other Top 100 Album Lists 1999 #98
New Nation United Kingdom Top 100 Albums by Black Artists #11
OOR Moordlijst Netherlands 10 The 100 Best Albums of 1991-1995 1995 #31
Spex Germany 1001 The 100 Albums of the Century 1999 #19

( * ) designates lists which are unordered.


Chart (1993) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[19] 70
US Billboard 200[20] 8
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[21] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Midnight Marauders – A Tribe Called Quest". AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Preston, Rohan B. (December 9, 1993). "A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders (Jive)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: A Tribe Called Quest". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ Bernard, James (November 12, 1993). "Midnight Marauders". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders". NME: 32. November 27, 1993. 
  6. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders". Q (87): 125. December 1993. 
  7. ^ Kenny, Glenn (November 25, 1993). "Midnight Marauders". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders". The Source (51): 88. December 1993. 
  10. ^ Golianopoulos, Thomas (August 2008). "Discography: Q-Tip". Spin. 24 (8): 92. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Midnight Marauders - A Tribe Called Quest". Billboard.com. 1993-11-27. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  12. ^ Stated by 'Tour Guide' at the end of "Award Tour" This end before "Lyrics to Go".
  13. ^ "EBSCOhost - world's foremost premium research database service". Search.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  14. ^ "EBSCOhost - world's foremost premium research database service". Search.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  15. ^ "The Source: Albums Rated 5 Mics (Out of 5)". Rocklist.net. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  16. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  17. ^ [1] Archived November 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Midnight Marauders at AcclaimedMusic.net". Retrieved June 23, 2007. 
  19. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  20. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest – Chart history" Billboard 200 for A Tribe Called Quest. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for A Tribe Called Quest. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "American album certifications – A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH