The Tape That Tape Made #4: Tribe From the Northside

I’m keeping it Trenton this week, with a tape I picked up online a few years ago. I already knew what I was buying, but even if I hadn’t I’d be lured in by the cover, the group’s name, and tracks with names like ‘Knowledge is Power’ and ‘Asalamalakum’.

Tribe from the Northside tape cover

The Afrocentric era is one of my favourite in all of hip-hop. I’ve got a healthy scepticism about much of the nonsense talked about on tracks from that time – really, please do tell me more about this Yakub character and the lab he created white people in 6600 years ago. On second thoughts, don’t – but it spawned some of my very favourite records. 2 Kings in a Cipher, Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, Positively Black – I never tire of this stuff. It was so prevalent that OG gangster Schoolly D recorded an Afrocentric album. Well, nearly. He actually made an album of the same brags and boasts he always did, but put the word ‘black’ into 8 song titles and the ‘n’ word into two more. Now, that’s marketing.

I digress. The duo of IQ and D-Nice (not that one) had released two¬† 12″s in 1989. ‘Verbal Abuse’ / ‘Everybody get funky’, which is okay, but the b-side is pound shop hip-house. And ‘Asalamalakum’ / ‘Stop the nonsense’ which is a marked step up. Tony D put them on a compilation, the producers were involved with PRT and the Undatakaz cassingle (also on Northside Productions), and that was pretty much that.

This cassette-only maxi-single (I say cassette-only with the usual caveat that records we’ve never seen before are always cropping up. No-one I know in the collecting community has ever seen it on vinyl, so that’ll do for now) recycles ‘Asalamalakum’, and why not? But it also delivers two tape-only bangers: ‘Lack of Unity (in the Black Community)’ and ‘Knowledge is Power’.

I’d advise getting your Afrocentric bingo card out for these tracks – first to get a line wins a bean pie, the house prize is a bow tie. ‘Lack of Unity’ delivers the kind of quiet storm mood you get on Positively Black’s peerless ‘Ebony Princess’, while ‘Knowledge is Power’, which opens with some King Sun vocals being scratched, is more propulsive.

I accept these aren’t the lost grails of hip-hop, but they’re still very good. And for a Trenton completist like myself, that’ll do.

Tribe from the Northside tape back

Posted by drewhuge

1 comment

dope!..thanks for uploading the tracks