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.”
Starita has been hitting the studio hard (what’s new) with many collaborators for a string of releases slated for Spring/Summer 2019. The first is set for release April 26th between Starita, RyanNicole, Aima The Dreamer and Terra Lopez for UnderCover Presents – Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders.’ The crew took on Tribe’s summer jam The Chase, Part II reinterpreting it into something very unexpected. While recording at Airship Laboratories in Richmond, CA an interview took place over the course of the day and they had alot to say about the process! Starita speaks about how he approached this particular song as an artist although he is also the producer on the album project. Needless to say this is going to be a treat for dance music and Tribe lovers!
Starita: “Back in ’93, I was working at a record store in Jackson MS, called Be – Bop Record Shop. ’93 was THE year, so many records hit that year… I was listening to Tribe non-stop and many other conscious hip hop acts along with discovering dance music. I was introduced to Orbital II and it blew my mind much like ‘Midnight Marauders’ did at that time. After playing many instruments, I picked up the 1s and 2s….turntables. DJing became a huge focus in my life and I began playing parties in clubs I wasn’t even old enough to get into at that time! Breakbeat was big in the south so, I was mostly playing that and some house back then. When I approached this song I wanted to do a reinterpretation that was true to what I was listening to back in ’93 in addition to Tribe… house and breaks. The track starts out deep and dark in the Orbital style but then, I wanted to bring it up with an all out party jam. I like to give the listener a certain vibe to settle into so they think they are getting one thing. Then, I flip the script on the whole thing to blow the mind because I want folks to get out of their comfort zone.”
RyanNicole: I’m a polymath. The gift and curse of that is that I’m doing so many things…this project showcases that. Fans that do know me see that I’m vulnerable enough to stretch and for fans who don’t know me, will take from it the love I have for this work. As far as the track, as soon as the beat dropped I was like ‘oh this is so fun!’ I would have never expected a house and breakbeat track from The Chase. It’s just like a party, it’s just like a great time! It nods to the feeling and the vibe that we talk about in terms of the original. You know, the dusk in the summer vibe, but it just kicks it up to a whole other level and expands it to a broader audience.”
Aima The Dreamer: “I love the approach we took! I’m a big breakbeat fan and to proudly date myself, ’93 is when I started writing raps. Tribe was super influential so I was really excited to be brought in specifically on this track. Ryan and I were talking about how iconic the song was and how it set the tone for so many of us….definitely really enjoyed flipping it. It’s interesting because you want to keep the nuances but keep that flavor to it and I think we did a good job”
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.
As you may remember, the multi-talented recording artist and actor, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover), ripped through the Bay Area performing a one off, sold out show at The Greek Theater with legendary artist Erykha Badu. While in town, Childish Gambino and Starita went into Jingletown Recording to lay down vocals on a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” for the film Magic MIke XXL in which Donald is one of the main characters. The movie and soundtrack dropped last month so check out the tune here!
Bay Area hip-hop veteran Lyrics Born releases his new album Real People this week, and to mark the occasion, KQED caught up with him at Jingletown Recording for a sneak preview of the title track.
“With the title track ‘Real People,’” says LB, “I really wanted to open the album with something that you could really see what I experienced as a kid – immigrating to the United States, single mom, being in a situation where maybe it wasn’t ideal, but still there was support and there was love in the family. And especially in the business that I’m in, we have such overblown images and ideas of who artists are. So, you know, I just wanted to do something that was real.”
The band performed Real People and Rock Rock Away live in the studio while Starita captured the magic with help of Lee Bothwick. The tracks were then mixed at San Francisco’s Different Fur Studios making for a great all around Bay Area recording.