33 1/3: A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Intinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm by Sean Taylor (Continuum Books)


Shawn Taylor’s mini-book A Tribe Called Quest’s debut album demonstrated just how out of step it was with mainstream hip-hop in 1990, and how it remains so today. He does this by recounting his own experiences with the album as an outcast teenager in 1990 and contrasting them with his experiences listening to the album on a 2006 ride through San Francisco’s transit system. Although there’s not much insight into A Tribe Called Quest, or how they made the album, Taylor’s writing style is honest and endearing. Those looking for behind-the-scenes info can flip to the end of the book for a revealing interview with album engineer Bob Power, although it feels like it was tacked on to pad out the page-count. Despite that one minor complaint, Taylor does a good job of explaining why the album is an alternative-rap classic.