A Tribe Called Quest
The Albums: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990), The Low End Theory (1991), Midnight Marauders (1993)
After De La Soul almost single-handedly ushered in a new era of "conscious" hip-hop, fellow Native Tongues members A Tribe Called Quest expanded rap's sonic palette with a trio of albums that incorporated jazz in unprecedented ways, innovating in both sampling and live instrumentation. Debut album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm introduced a style that incorporated narrative rapping and grooving, laid-back melodies, which riffed on the nascent Native Tongues. Tribe doubled down on sophomore album The Low End Theory, taking the title to heart, filling the album with heavy bass and mutating their jazz influences into sounds previously unexplored in hip-hop. On follow up Midnight Marauders, Tribe crafted their most ambitious album yet, packing every song with dense, memorable samples, thumping drums, and inventive lyrics.