Beats, Rhymes and Life
Beats, Rhymes and Life.jpg
Studio album by A Tribe Called Quest


July 30, 1996


May 1995 - February 1996


Battery Studios
(New York City, New York)


East Coast hip hop, Alternative hip hop, Jazz rap




Jive Records / BMG


Rashad Smith, The Ummah

A Tribe Called Quest chronology


Midnight Marauders (1993)


The Love Movement (1998)

Beats, Rhymes and Life is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, released in July 30, 1996 on Jive Records. Recording sessions took place at Battery Studios in New York City from May 1995 to February 1996. The album marks a departure from the joyful, positive vibe of the group's earlier albums and is regarded as their darkest album in content. The album is the first to feature production work by The Ummah, a group that was composed of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jay Dee. Q-Tip's cousin Consequence features frequently on the album.

The album reached #1 on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 1997, and the single "1nce Again" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Although it sold well, it was not as critically acclaimed as the group's earlier albums. As of 2019, the album has sold over 1,100,000 copies.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

All songs produced by The Ummah, except for "The Hop", produced by Rashad Smith.

No. Title Performer(s) Writer(s) Time
1. "Phony Rappers" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Consequence Fareed, Mills, Taylor 3:36
2. "Get a Hold" Q-Tip Fareed, Yancey 3:35
3. "Motivators" Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, Consequence Fareed, Mills, Muhammad, Taylor 3:20
4. "Jam" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Consequence Fareed, Mills, Taylor 4:38
5. "Crew" Q-Tip Fareed, Muhammad 1:58
6. "The Pressure" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg Fareed, Muhammad, Taylor 3:03
7. "1nce Again" Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, Tammy Lucas Fareed, Muhammad, Swallow, Taylor, Yancey 3:49
8. "Mind Power" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Consequence Fareed, Mills, Muhammad, Taylor 3:56
9. "The Hop" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg Fareed, Smith, Taylor 3:27
10. "Keeping It Moving" Q-Tip Fareed, Yancey 3:39
11. "Baby Phife's Return" Phife Dawg Fareed, Taylor 3:19
12. "Seperate / Together" Q-Tip Fareed 1:38
13. "What Really Goes On" Q-Tip Bonner, Fareed, Jones, Middlebrooks, Morrison, Napier, Noland, Pierce, Webster 3:24
14. "Word Play" Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Consequence Fareed, Mills, Taylor, Yancey 3:00
15. "Stressed Out" Q-Tip, Consequence, Faith Evans Evans, Fareed, Mills, Muhammad, Taylor, Yancey 4:58

Samples[edit | edit source]

Phony Rappers

  • "Blind Alley" by The Emotions

Get a Hold

  • "The Visit (She Was Here)" by The Cyrkle


  • "Sound Pieces" by Michal Urbaniak Group


  • "Dirty Old Bossa Nova" by Howard Roberts


  • "Suburban Family Lament" by Ruth Copeland

The Pressure

  • "Get Off Your Ass and Jam" by Funkadelic

1nce Again

  • "I'm Your Pal" by Gary Burton
  • "Untitled" by Cannonball Adderley

Mind Power

  • "N.T." by Kool & the Gang
  • "Submission" by Tyrone Washington

The Hop

  • "Soft Spirit" by Henry Franklin
  • "Bumpin' Bus Stop" by Thunder and Lightning

Keeping It Moving

  • "Roadwork" by Howard Roberts

Baby Phife's Return

  • "Sam Enchanted Dick (Medley)" by Jack Bruce
  • "Midnight Theme" by Manzel


  • "Funky Drummer" by James Brown

What Really Goes On

  • "Pain" by Ohio Players
  • "Make It Funky" by James Brown

Word Play

  • "The Watcher" by Rodney Franklin

Stressed Out

  • "Good Love" by Anita Baker
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