HipHopDX Premiere: UnderCover Presents – A Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’

April 26, 2019 HipHopDX exclusively premiered the UnderCover Presents – Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’ album. Check it out!

HipHopDX Premiere – A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders turned 25 last November, but the classic album is still celebrated no matter what day it is. Serving as ATCQ’s third studio album and follow-up to 1991’s The Low End Theory, the project bridged the gap between Hip Hop and jazz, much like Guru did with the Jazzmatazz series.

In honor of the Tribe masterpiece, the Bay Area UnderCover Presents collective has sewn together a tribute, the appropriately titled A Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. 

Founder Lyz Luke explains to HipHopDX, “If there was ever a time to release a tribute album to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders,’ that time would be NOW,” says Lyz Luke. “In order to do this right and fully represent ATCQ, I knew we needed to bring in Starita as music producer, based upon his deep production experience across a multitude of genres in addition to his relationship and work with Phife Dawg and ATCQ.

“Apart from this album being released digitally, this is the first time in the history of UnderCover where we will be releasing a double vinyl to commemorate ATCQ and Phife Dawg.”

The 14-track effort boasts appearances from 13 local bands from a wide range of genres, seven MCs, over 100 artists, nine engineers, five music studios and a vinyl pressing plant. Blackalicious’ Gift Of Gab, Lateef The Truthspeaker and vocalist Gina Madrid are just three of the many whose fingerprints are on the project.

“When Lyz first approached me to work on this project, I instantly knew there were some critical pillars that we needed to uphold in order for this tribute album to resonate,” Starita adds. “Let’s be clear. This work is sacrilegious. This is a tribute album, not a cover album. This is already a perfect album. There’s nothing to re-make.

“To introduce this classic record to new audiences, our goal was to pay homage by pulling together the best of the best artists to make an album of re-interpreted songs representing the full breadth of the imagination that is ATCQ’s music.”

In conjunction with the album’s digital release, the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in San Francisco will play host to three shows May 16-18 that will incorporate elements from all four pillars of hip-hop: DJing, MCing, graffiti and B-Boying (breakdancing), along with the minimalism and free-form nature of jazz instrumentation.

The city has proclaimed that week “A Tribe Called Quest Week” and will present Phife Dawg’s wife and other family members with “PhifeDay.”

Check out the album up top, pre-order the vinyl here and cop tickets via the YBCA website.

UnderCover Presents – A Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’

UnderCover Presents was founded by Lyz Luke in 2010 and has rapidly established itself as an inspirational collective that gathers musicians and artists from every facet of San Francisco Bay Area’s creative community. Since its founding, UnderCover has paid tribute to 14 albums, worked with over 150 local bands, and presented to over 35,000 audience members throughout San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. UnderCover has won Best of Awards from SF Weekly, SF Bay Guardian, East Bay Express, and has also attained two (2) Mayoral Proclamations for Green Day and Sly & The Family Stone at their tributes. UnderCover has become a true public celebration of local music, which is evident by their sold-out shows.

 

 

The concept is simple, one distinctive band per song reinterpreting an entire classic album from start to finish. A selection committee decides on the bands to be included in the tribute based upon their locality, distinctive sound, established following, among a variety of other criteria. With each tribute, artists are highly encouraged to put their own sound and personality on their rendition. The result is a cross-pollination of cultures, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, writers and visual artists that doesn’t typically happen on one show bill, or for that matter even festivals.

This time around, UnderCover Presents is honoring A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders,’ an album that bridged the gap between hip-hop and jazz. Given that the album just celebrated its 25th anniversary, UnderCover felt it appropriate to continue to introduce this classic record to new audiences. Not to mention that the messages embedded in this album continues to echo resoundingly as we witness all that is taking place in the world. The collective is collaborating with Starita as music producer for the album recording, based upon his deep production experience across a multitude of genres in addition to his relationship and last work with Phife Dawg and ATCQ. For the first time, UnderCover will be releasing a double vinyl to commemorate this tribute. Today UnderCover Presents shares the first cover for “We Can Get Down” by high energy soul rock band Royal Jelly Jive. You can listen on Soundcloud.

With this ATCQ’s ‘Midnight Marauders’ tribute, UnderCover has united 13 local bands from a wide range of genres, 7 MCs (including Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Karega, Starita, RyanNicole, RAV-E Sandhu), over 100+ artists, 9 engineers, 5 music studios, and 1 vinyl pressing plant, to produce an album within 65 days, from pre-production to mastering. The result is a one-of-a-kind and unexpected soundscape of reinterpreted tracks for a mixed genre collection – Experimental Orchestral, World, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Latin Hip Hop, New Orleans Jazz, R&B, Soul, Indie Folk, Rock, Funk, Future Soul, Alternative Rock, Jazz, Electronic, Dance, Ghangra and Afrobeat.

UnderCover Presents: A Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’ is out 4/26/19. 

A Tribe Called Quest Week will feature 3 shows, starting on Thursday, May 16 through Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA followed by an After Party at 7th West, Oakland, on Sunday, May 20, 2019. UnderCover will dedicate Friday as “Phifeday” in honor of Phife Dawg. Details are below, tickets can be purchased here.

Billboard Premieres Starita ‘Rules’

Beyond his skills on the mic, A Tribe Called Quest‘s Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor was also a people-connector. While working on the last Tribe album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service last year, producer/engineer Starita (born Michael Starita) vibed with the Queens rap collective for “Dis Generation” and grew close to Phife’s manager and best friend, Rasta Root.

Amidst crafting his forthcoming six-track EP (due this fall), Starita asked Root if Jarobi White would rap on his new party record “Rules,” which also features singer/songwriter Trent Park. “I was like, you think Jarobi would be down to drop some bars on this thing? So [Root] connected us and that’s how it all started.” White was immediately pulled in by the up-tempo track’s melodic changes. “It was a departure from what I’m normally doing,” the rapper adds. “I was just hoping I wouldn’t mess it up. I just wanted to add my personality, a little New York street feel. I hope I accomplished that.”

Read the full interview here…

Magnetic Magazine Premieres Starita ‘Lights On’

Starita teams up with Trevor Hall on this single from his upcoming album.

2-time Grammy recognized producer, Starita, has worked with the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Childish Gambino and Michael Franti. A behind the scenes guy for the majority of his careers, the Jackson, Mississippi native is ready to step out from the shadows and put out his own project. He is gearing up to release his debut album For The Record in the fall and we are here to premiere the latest single titled “Lights On” featuring Trevor Hall.

Starita and Jarobi on Talkhouse Podcast

Jarobi White (A Tribe Called Quest) and Starita, who worked on Tribe’s recent chart-topping album We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service, remember Phife Dawg in this edition of the Talkhouse Music Podcast. Jarobi talks about their earliest days, breaks down the meaning of Tribe lyrics, shares the last words Phife ever spoke to him and so much more. Starita was the last engineer to ever work with Phife, and brings us into those final days of frantic work and heavy emotions. Check it out. Subscribe now on iTunes or Stitcher to stay in the loop on future Talkhouse Podcasts.
— Elia Einhorn, Talkhouse Podcast producer and engineer