The NBA Finals With A Dose Of A Tribe Called Quest

If you know me, you know how big a fan of A Tribe Called Quest I am. Smooth. Versatile. Jazzy. Just the way I like my hip-hop. Sometime last week, I got put onto another mixtape of Tribe, this time from DJ M-Rock (you can check it out here). It was dope. It flowed (the transition from “Find My Way” to “Breathe & Stop” is crazy). It took me back to middle school, back to college when I used to go through speakers once or twice a year blasting Midnight Marauders.

Crazy timing, considering the official trailer for Michael Rapaport‘s documentary of Tribe – “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” – recently premiered as well. You might know Rapaport from his work in Higher Learning or Deep Blue Sea; it surprised me a little bit when I found out he was putting out this documentary. But it’s potential is unreal.

You can get tickets now to see it at the 2011 L.A. Film Festival. Here’s the trailer:

So in honor of a week of Q-Tip, Phife, & Ali Shaheed Muhammad, I’m handing out some more required listening for the guys playing in the NBA Finals right now (by the way, this all reminds me. I need a new copy of Beats, Rhymes & Life. Mine is scuffed and can’t make it through a song without skipping…).

*** *** ***

Dirk Nowitzki
“Lyrics To Go” (off Midnight Marauders)
This one was easy. Dirk can’t do much more than he is right now.
Today’s a hip-hop draft will I be top-seeded?
Worked too friction’ hard while all the rest were getting weeded
Steady kickin’ styles so I can reach that other level
Don’t worry about gettin’ gassed I push the pedal to the medal
Always wanted this ’cause it surely beats a scramble
I’m Jordan with the mic, huh, wanna gamble?

LeBron James
“Buggin’ Out” (off The Low End Theory)
For everything he is, LeBron really isn’t confrontational. And that’s good, considering at his level of fame, confrontation will get you nothing but trouble. Best to let things slide. Talk is cheap. Yet sometimes, you’ve got to put your foot down. James can’t win right now except to win.

Now, he’s got everyone calling him out, from the media to Jason Terry to DeShawn Stevenson. My guess? He’s due to go off, and put his foot down as Tribe did here.

No shame in my game cause I’ll always be the same
Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have
You wanna diss the Phifer but you still don’t know the half

J.J. Barea
“Check The Rhime” (off The Low End Theory)
Who would’ve ever guessed just two months ago that the tiny, backup PG could be a deciding factor in the Finals? Which Barea shows up? That’s the key for Dallas. And that’s both frightening and amazing.

Okay if knowledge is the key then just show me the lock
Got the scrawny legs but I move just like Lou Brock,
With speed. I’m agile plus I’m worth your while
One hundred percent intelligent black child
My optic presentation sizzles the retina
How far must I go to gain respect? um
Well. it’s kind of simple, just remain your own

Chris Bosh
“Verses From The Abstract” (off The Low End Theory)
If there was one Tribe song that personified CB’s game, it would be this one. Q-Tip’s buttery rhymes. Bosh feathery foul-line jumpers. They fit each other. For Bosh, he’s in a perfect spot. Screw up and no one seems to care. They hate you already. But play well, and it’s almost a guaranteed Miami win. He just needs to relax and play his game. Smooth. Vibe out.

Jason Terry
“Get A Hold” (off Beats, Rhymes & Life)
The JET spent the last two days running his mouth. Irritated at people saying LeBron is shutting him down, and frustrated at his own offensive problems, I expect him to get a hold of himself and come through with one big game. In 2006, he was huge all season long, and in the Finals, he had two 30-points games. Dallas will settle for 20 tonight.

Lay your ego on the ground so that you’ll benefit
You can take these words and relay it to your click
Take some time for your mind and get off them head trips

Dwyane Wade
“Award Tour” (off Midnight Marauders)
…Just because D-Wade might be gearing up for a Finals MVP and you can’t go through a listening session w/ Tribe without listening to one of their best songs.

Jason Kidd
“1nce Again” (off Beats, Rhymes & Life)
Kidd has been mildly consistent through the Finals’ first three games. Cool, except mildly won’t get it done. With Terry struggling, Barea lost and the rest of Dallas’ bench suffocated, Kidd needs to turn back the clock. As Tribe did here, he’s got to go into storage and pull out an old classic, something to get himself motivated, something to get his legs kicking again. Tribe did it with this jam, mirroring their old song, “Check The Rhime.” Now Kidd needs to do the same tonight.

What’s your favorite ATCQ song?

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