"Seven times out of ten, we listen to our music at night. Thus spawns the title of this program. The word "maraud" means to loot. In this case, we maraud for ears."
There couldn’t be a more perfect title for A Tribe Called Quest’s third studio album. The group, made up of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, are thieves, looting our ears and filling them with sound.
We are first introduced to Midnight Marauders by a “tour guide”, voiced by a female robot. She hopes we find the presentation “precise, bass-heavy, and just right”, and that, we do. She reappears throughout the album, sharing facts and thoughts with us.
The production on the album is polished and funky. The aforementioned bass is prevalent, but never overbearing. The drums are clean and straight-forward. The hooks are catchy and fitting to each song. And the flow and rhymes of Q-Tip and Phife Dawg are impeccable. The two work as one, bouncing off each other beautifully. I think this is best seen in Steve Biko, where the two exchange verses one after the other.
The album explores various topics, from everyday things like just going out and getting a milkshake, to more complex things like violence, sexual tension, and the use of the n-word.
After more than 20 years, the lyrics and flow are as fresh and good as they were in 1993, though the beats may seem a bit dated compared to modern hip-hop and rap. The infusion of jazz and funk are fitting to the vibe of the album. And though many may prefer The Low End Theory, ATCQ’s second album, I feel that it is lacking in it’s feel, something that Midnight Marauder’s more than makes up for.
In conclusion, Midnight Marauders is one of the best albums of all time, not only a great hip-hop album but a great display of the Tribe’s musical ability. This is a must for any music fan, regardless of taste.