When I heard A Tribe Called Quest was reuniting for a tour this fall, I had to temper my excitement with the harshness of reality. For one, it was a tour sponsored by a video game ($) and any Tribe fan can pretty much agree that the group’s farewell, The Love Movement, was spotty at best. Now, Tribe hovers at the top of my list of favorite groups … hence the problem: When should we just let go?
Because here comes another Native Tongues comeback with Black Sheep, the duo of Dres and Mista Lawnge, who last left us with 1994’s Non-Fiction. They’ll be best known for The Choice Is Yours (revisited version, of course), though that debut album in full, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, stands alongside any of those “golden era” albums – Low End Theory and 3 Feet High and Rising included.
And the way we (or, um, I) hold these albums in such high regard is going to make it difficult to believe that anything they do now will ever measure up. It’s sorta weird to even think that I’m discussing this: favorite artists of mine growing up are coming back around the block. But now I’m older and so are they. Maybe we’re more inclined to give these favorites a free pass the second time around. Or not.
It reminds me a little of when I cornered Diplo at the Pitchfork Music Festival this summer to ask him about his favorite hip-hop album (for a future installment of I Used to Love H.E.R.). His first answer was Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. He went on to state all his reasons for liking the album as a teenager (which I can’t recall off hand). But then he said he listened to it recently and actually thought it was kind of mediocre. So what changes? Our age? Our taste? Our ability to detach our sentimental feelings once and for all?
I’m not saying I won’t listen to the forthcoming Black Sheep album, 8WM/Novakane. I enjoy the first single, Whodat?, a heavy hitter with thick horns produced by Seattle’s Vitamin D of Rhymesayers. But I’ll probably be lacking the same innocent enthusiasm I had back in the day, if only because I fear that if I don’t like it, it will somehow spoil my original memories – like watching an aging athlete. Who wants to remember Michael Jordan for his numerous comebacks or his ill-fated attempt at baseball? Maybe I’m too nostalgic. I really hope Black Sheep proves me wrong.
Black Sheep | Whodat?
CLEANING HOUSE: You may notice some sketchiness with EZarchive, every blogger’s favorite file-hosting solution. Apparently, they are upgrading and existing files will have to be moved over to the new and improved series of tubes where these types of things are held. It also means new Web links will be needed for files. So, I’m doing something I do sort of regularly: delete old mp3s. I’ll be keeping the mp3s on a few of the more popular posts active; throughout the week, I’ll re-introduce those posts if you missed them the first time around and don’t feel like digging through the archives. Hopefully I can do it without seeming like a self-aggrandizing jackass.