Hip-Hop History Tuesdays: The Native Tongues

Posted by Billyjam, April 28, 2015 11:45am | Post a Comment
Upon digging in the golden era hip-hop LP crates recently I uncovered an amazing album that I had not listened to in full in some time - the Jungle Brothers' 1988 debut album Straight Out The Jungle on Idlers/Warlock - that reminded me of how, upon its release, that was the record that introduced hip-hop fans like myself to the Native Tongues - as well as to Q-Tip who guested on the album tracks "Black Is Black" and "The Promo."

Centered in New York City and with direct ties to the Universal Zulu Nation, the Native Tongues were not a crew but rather a collective of different crews and acts that came together as a loose knit movement bonded by Afrocentric rooted hip-hop with uplifting lyrics focus on positivity and with a musical / production focus on jazzy grooves and eclectic samples (along with jazz, funk, and soul samples, the aforementioned Jungle Brothers album title track sampled Cameroon, Central Africa artist Manu Dibango). In addition to its leading act The Jungle Brothers (aka the JBs), the Native Tongues also included De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest (its core members), as well as such artists as Queen Latifah, Black Sheep, and Monie Love as among its many members. Other Native Tongue members - albeit to a much lesser and/or later degree of involvement - have said to have included Chi-Ali, Fu-Schnickens, The Beatnuts, Brand Nubian, Leaders of the New School, Common, and Da Bush Babees. However while these hip-hop acts continued for many years - some up until the present - the actual Native Tongues collective slowly disintegrated and became no more by the early nineties - many correctly correlating the demise of Afrocentric hip-hop with that of the Native Tongues movement. 

While the Native Tongues never actually released a record under that artist name, perhaps the closest to a Native Tongues record was the guest-heavy De La Soul single (as distinct from the 3 Feet album version) "Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)" featuring the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, and Queen Latifah. In honor of  the Native Tongues, who have been credited with been highly instrumental with shaping the sub-genre of conscious hip-hop, below are few hip-hop music videos that capture the Native Tongues at their best including the aforementioned posse track "Buddy" as well as the 1996 JB's recording "How Ya Want It We Got it (Native Tongues Remix)" featuring both Q-Tip and De La Soul which was widely considered the final official Native Tongues release.

De La Soul "Buddy Remix (feat Jungle Brothers, Q Tip, Monie Love & Queen Latifah)"

The Jungle Brothers "Straight Out The Jungle"

A Tribe Called Quest "Scenario (feat. Busta Rhymes)"

Jungle Brothers (feat. Q-Tip & De La Soul) - How Ya Want It We Got it (Native Tongues Remix)

Relevant Tags

Afrocentric (1), Hip-hop History (63), Hip-hop History Tuesdays (43), Native Tongues (1), Jungle Brothers (5), De La Soul (27), Q-tip (8), Universal Zulu Nation (1)