A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993), 8/10

I personally see this as a big step up after The Low End Theory considering modern context and the evolution of hip-hop. It has aged more gracefully and remains quite formidable in the context of modern hip-hop; there are many more songs I keep on repeat from this record in comparison to its predecessor. The Red Clay sample on "Sucka Nigga" is legendary, preceding the perfectly arranged and produced "Midnight", an ambiance that we had not heard from Tribe or any other group. The production is a matter of taste, clearly a more unfiltered and raw sampling sound than that of The Low End Theory to match its more atmospheric and complex air, lyrics to match. Then comes "Electric Relaxation" being one of the first hip-hop songs I ever truly fell in love with; I've heard it more times than I can count and still get excited every time it comes around even amid this stacked track list. I would claim Midnight Marauders is more consistent than flashy, keeping the slightly offbeat social commentary and playful yet ominous vibe in play without doing anything too abstract or complicated, or even anything too outside the box for contemporary nineties hip-hop. Its highlights are the greatest that Tribe achieved and its consistency in quality and ethos is remarkable and refreshing. The technical skill from Q-Tip and Phife is also at a high point, lyricism and punchy delivery being spread across every song. Very obviously among the best hip-hop albums ever recorded, even transcending the genre to claim its place among the best in music.