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5 MIC 15: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm





Released April 10th 1990 this album was the first to receive the coveted Source Magazine 5 Mic Award. The group chose Calliope Studios in NYC as their primary studio, as it was renowned to promote artistic freedom. At this time artists such as Queen Latifah Prince Paul and De La Soul also used this studio to record new music. They may have been in separate rooms but you can really hear the similarities. Here in this studio is where the Native Tongue collective was born.


Three monster singles LEFT MY WALLET IN EL SEGUNDO, BONITA APPLEBUM, and CAN I KICK IT, helped catipault this album not only to the top of the chart but into our hearts forever. Now because of the use of the "Walk on the Wild Side" sample, the group did not receive any money from the single, with Lou Reed instead claiming the profits.


After putting this project under the 2022 microscope I realized how much I loved the long instrumental vibes. The splashes of jazz really reminded me of good times. The vocals had a sick live acoustic element that complimented some sophisticated yet playful, conversational and repressed lyrics. It was a reminder of some of the tough political issues we were dealing with but on the flip side visited things like safe sex for young adults. Q Tip did do majority of the heavy lifting as far as the rhymes, and truthfully I would have liked to hear more from Phife.


I believe this album is indeed worth the 5 mics given by The Source Magazine. Its original vision, clean vocals and historic instrumentals inspired a genre and continue to inspire artists like myself everyday.

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