Peoples Instictive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm



Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm dropped in 1990, that’s 17 years ago pop pickers. Around this time De La Soul had just re-invented hip hop with 3ft High which featured various guest appearances from, among others, members of the Native Tongues family whose members included ATCQ. Save for a stunning verse on a track called In Time, tucked away on the B-Side of I’ll House You, not much of Q-Tip we knew. Q-Tip looked like a hippy, as did all of ATCQ at this time, and, because of the luxury of being a Native Tongue, was allowed a certain creative license basking in the De La glow that was all consuming. Feted by the press an expectant crowd gathered and Peoples Instinctive Travels was released. The great thing about this era was the expectation that a group was to be experimental, different and groundbreaking. Nothing less would have sufficed and it was seen as passé to be state of the art, artists had to push the envelope now De La had thrown down the gauntlet of a musical revolution. Was it a surprise that ATQC sampled Lou Reed’s ode to transvestites Walk on the Wild Side? No, rap was a creative tool and minds were open to anything as long as it was able to chopped, shaped and squeezed into the Hip Hop template.

This is not to say that sampling obscure or classic records was the ends in itself as some who didn’t get it were prone to think; witness PM Dawn’s Spandau Ballet car crash for further proof. A Tribe, De La etc were not sampling for samplings sake rather they were using music they liked and had the same spirit as they were trying to express. ATQC born 25 years earlier would have hung out in The Factory and adored Warhol just as certain Lou Rabinowitz had done. Can I Kick it was the sound of a baton being passed from one vanguard to another whilst Set Adrift was the sound of a desperate fat guy trying to crash a party.

The album opens with a baby crying acknowledging the birth of a new era, a new force in rap and, luckily for them and us, such self proclamation was not a fallacy This first track, Push it Along, clocks in at an amazing (in Hip Hop terms) seven minutes and the structure was in stark contrast to De La’s short and sweet, sketchy style tracks. From there on we have the Beatles sampling (yes, you could sample the Fab Four back then) Luck of Lucien which, like Doctor Robert, was a track about a friend they knew. After Hours sounded like it was made after hours as the beats and rhymes painted vivid images and the Stevie Wonder sampling Footprints utilised the Security of the First World beat with simple brilliance. Track by track boundaries were being pushed and stereotypes were being smashed. And in Hip Hop production terms was very slick and polished despite the lazy feel. But then this was 17 years ago and now we’re full, depressing circle. I now care little about the bloated, spoilt and lazy children Peoples Travels gave birth to. Nelly and 50 cent will not be sampling any Velvet Underground EVER and not because it would cast a 1% doubt on their unquestionably heterosexual, red blooded sex machine status but, because they have never heard of Lou Reed. They’re more Kenny G. And that’s the difference 17 years on. On review and a recent listen Peoples Travels sounds better than it did 17 years ago not because it was a revolution but because nothing being released to this very day can beat it. Essential. 10/10.

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