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Native Tongues

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Native Tongues is a collective of late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, good-natured Afrocentric lyrics, and for pioneering the use of eclectic sampling and later jazz-influenced beats. Its principal members are the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. The collective was also closely tied to the Universal Zulu Nation.


The New York City-based Native Tongues crew was a collective of like-minded hip hop artists who would help bring abstract and open-minded lyricism that addressed a range of topics—from spirituality and modern living to race, sex, and just having fun—to the mainstream. Together with the use of eclectic samples that would take on an increasingly jazzy sound, they would be pioneers of so-called conscious hip hop, alternative hip hop, and jazz rap.

De La Soul's Trugoy the Dove recalled: "The Native Tongues came about where, basically, we had a show together in Boston. [De La Soul], Jungle [Brothers] and we linked from there. We had a natural love for the art and a natural love for each other on how we put stuff together. So we invited [the Jungle Brothers] to a session, and when they hooked up with us, we happened to be doing "Buddy." It wasn't business; it wasn't for a check. It was just trading ideas and just seeing what you're doing. Bottom line, it was just having fun."[1]

According to Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest: "I remember Afrika [Baby Bam] called me that night, like, two in the morning. "Yo these kids, De La Soul, you gotta meet ’em! I swear we're just alike!" I went there, met them, and it was just fuckin' love at first sight. It was disgusting. In hip hop, it praises individualism. I think that's the main achievement of the Native Tongues. It just showed people could come together."[2]

Fostered by Kool DJ Red Alert, the success of the Jungle Brothers would pave the way for De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest; together, these three groups would form the core of the crew and continue the spirit of Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation. By 1989 they had been joined by Queen Latifah and the United Kingdom's Monie Love, and soon by the Black Sheep & Chi-Ali. Collectively, the members of the Native Tongues had a huge effect on the style and trends of hip hop during its most important period, the golden age of the late 1980s–early 1990s. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul's albums of this time are considered among the best and most important in the hip hop genre.

If you’re old enough, recall the naive early-'90s moment when young rappers from Nassau County and so forth were so brave they considered mellow and humorous a righteous path as well as a commercial ploy.

Robert Christgau, 2019[3]

The song "Scenario" was the final track on A Tribe Called Quest's album The Low End Theory and featured the fledgling Leaders of the New School—Dinco D, Busta Rhymes, and Charlie Brown.

While featuring an extensive discography, the collaborations of the Native Tongues have been fairly limited: the collective never recorded anything under that name, and the number of notable crew cuts can be counted on one hand. The various groups grew distant with time, and, by 1993, De La Soul's Trugoy the Dove proclaimed, "That native shit is dead." The collective would, however, reunite in 1996 for the Jungle Brothers’ "How Ya Want It We Got It (Native Tongues Remix)"; collaborators in this period, such as Common, The Roots, Truth Enola, DJ S.T.R.E.S.S., Da Bush Babees, and Mos Def, could be seen as latter-day additions to the crew.[4] In 1998 on A Tribe Called Quest's album The Love Movement, the last track ("Rock Rock Ya'll") features Jane Doe, Mos Def, Punchline & Wordsworth. Q Tip states near the track's end that "this right here is a family".

There are several collectives today—with overlapping membership—that can be seen as the spiritual heirs to the Native Tongues crew: the Spitkicker crew (founded by De La Soul's Trugoy and Posdnuos in 2000), the Okayplayers, and the Soulquarians. Chris Lighty was a member of the Native Tongues-affiliated street crew the Violators and began his career carrying records for Zulu Nation DJs, and later as the Jungle Brothers' roadie. Until his death in 2012 he ran the successful Violator Management company, which represents Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip, among other high-profile clients. It has influenced many other artists in the music industry.


Core members

Peripheral members

† According to De La Soul interview on MuchMusic's RapCity in 1996.

†† According to Q-Tip interview the BBC Radio 1 special The Story Of Q-Tip.


Collaborations involving the original members, those that could be considered true Native Tongues crew cuts, are in bold. Note that this list is incomplete.


  • "Black is Black" by Jungle Brothers feat. Q-Tip, from Straight out the Jungle
  • "The Promo" by Jungle Brothers feat. Q-Tip, from Straight out the Jungle


  • "Buddy" by De La Soul featuring Jungle Brothers and Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, from 3 Feet High and Rising
  • "Description" De La Soul featuring Q-Tip and Prince Paul, from 3 Feet High and Rising
  • "Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)" by De La Soul featuring Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, and Queen Latifah, from "Buddy" 12-inch single
  • "The Mack Daddy on the Left" by De La Soul from "Say No Go" 12-inch single
  • "Acknowledge Your Own History" by Jungle Brothers featuring Vinia Mojica, from Done by the Forces of Nature
  • "Done by the Forces of Nature" by Jungle Brothers feat. Jungle DJ Towa Toha, from Done by the Forces of Nature
  • "Doin' Our Own Dang" by Jungle Brothers feat. De La Soul, Queen Latifah, Q-Tip and Monie Love, from Done by the Forces of Nature
  • "Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children" by Queen Latifah featuring De La Soul, from All Hail the Queen
  • "Ladies First" by Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love, from All Hail The Queen




  • "Scenario (Remix)" by A Tribe Called Quest feat. Kid Hood and Leaders Of The New School, from "Scenario" 12" single
  • "Let The Horns Blow" by Chi Ali feat. Dres, Dove, Fashion and Phife Dawg, from The Fabulous Chi-Ali
  • "La Schmoove" by The Fu-Schnickens feat Phife Dawg, from "F.U. "Dont Take It Personal""
  • "Check It Out" by the Fu-Schnickens feat Dres, from "F.U. "Dont Take It Personal""



  • "We Run Things(It's Like Dat)" da Bush Babees (Ali Shaheed Muhammad production) from Ambushed
  • "Sh. Fe. MC's" by De La Soul featuring A Tribe Called Quest, from Clear Lake Auditorium EP


  • "Ill Vibe" by Busta Rhymes featuring Q-Tip, from The Coming
  • "3 MC's" by da Bush Babees featuring Q-Tip, from Gravity
  • "S.O.S." by da Bush Babees featuring Mos Def, from Gravity
  • "Love Song" by da Bush Babees featuring Mos Def (prod. by Posdnous), from Gravity
  • "Big-Brother Beat" by De La Soul featuring Mos Def, from Stakes Is High
  • "Pony Ride" by De La Soul featuring Truth Enola from Stakes Is High
  • "Stakes is High (Remix)" De La Soul featuring Truth Enola and Mos Def, from "Itzsoweezee (HOT)" 12-inch single
  • "Love Song remix" Bush Babees featuring De La Soul and Mos Def
  • "Flashlight (Remix)" by George Clinton featuring Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes & Ol' Dirty Bastard, from Greatest Funkin' Hits
  • "Out For The Cash (Remix)" by DJ Honda feat. Fat Joe, the Beatnuts, and Common
  • "How Ya Want It We Got It (Native Tongues Remix)" by Jungle Brothers featuring Q-Tip and De La Soul, from Raw Deluxe


  • "Wild Hot" by A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes, from Rhyme & Reason Soundtrack
  • "Rumble in the Jungle" by The Fugees featuring John Forté, A Tribe Called Quest, and Busta Rhymes, from When We Were Kings Soundtrack
  • "Fortified Live" by Reflection Eternal featuring Mos Def & Mr. Man
  • Hear Iz... - a mixtape by DJ S.T.R.E.S.S. featuring Q-Tip, Sadat X, The Beatnuts, Wyclef Jean, and Prince Paul



  • "Do it Now" by Mos Def featuring Busta Rhymes, produced by Mr Khaliyl(Mr. Man) from Black On Both Sides
  • "Know That" by Mos Def featuring Talib Kweli, from Black On Both Sides
  • "Climb" by Mos Def featuring Vinia Mojica, from Black On Both Sides
  • "Mr. Nigga" by Mos Def featuring Q-Tip, from Black On Both Sides
  • "Got" by Mos Def produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammad, from Black On Both Sides
  • "The Truth" by Pharoahe Monch featuring Common and Talib Kweli, from Internal Affairs
  • "It's Going Down" by Dres featuring Chi-Ali and Droop Dog, from Sure Shot Redemption
  • "Bang" by Maseo featuring Truth Enola, DCQ, Mike G (of the Jungle Brothers) and Indeed,
  • "Tinseltown to Boogiedown" by Scritt-Polliti featuring Lee Majors(of da Bush Babees) and Mos Def
  • "Slam Pit" by the Beatnuts featuring Common and Cuban Link, from A Musical Massacre
  • "Vivrant Thang (Remix)" by Q-Tip featuring Busta Rhymes & Missy Elliott
  • "N.T." by Q-Tip featuring Busta Rhymes, from Amplified
  • "Voicetress" by Truth Enola featuring De La Soul from Blind Side Recordings presents Wide Angels




  • "Get By (Remix)" by Talib Kweli featuring Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, and Kanye West
  • "Stand To The Side" by Talib Kweli featuring Vinia Mojica & Res, from Quality



  • "Get 'Em High" by Kanye West featuring Talib Kweli and Common from The College Dropout.
  • "She Wants to Move (Native Tongues Remix)" by N*E*R*D feat. Common, Mos Def, De La Soul, and Q-Tip, from "She Wants To Move Remixes" 12-inch single
  • "Days of Our Lives" by De La Soul featuring Common, from The Grind Date
  • "Lord Can I Have This Mercy" - (featuring Chip-Fu) from Ali Shaheed Muhammad's [i]Shaheedulah & Stereotypes[/i]






  • "P.T.I. (Occupy Wall Street)" by evitaN (Dres of Black Sheep and Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest)


  1. ^ Staff (21 September 2014). "Day of Trugoy The Dove". Global Exchange Chronicles. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  2. ^ Coplan, Chris (10 January 2014). "Q-Tip, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill are making a TV show". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 18, 2019). "Consumer Guide: September 2019". Substack. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "Native Tongues". Discogs. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  5. ^ As seen in Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)
  6. ^ Consequence Q & A at (2010)
  7. ^ "Hear Iz..." Discogs. Retrieved 27 September 2015.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 9 June 2020, at 14:09
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