Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hey, That Sounds Like...: Justin Warfield vs. Q-Tip

They say (whoever "they" are) that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." If that's the case, then Q-Tip must have been rendered speechless after he heard Justin Warfield's Season Of The Vic. I know I was.

Now in Hip-Hop or any musical genre there is always someone emulating a style. From half the groups in the 60's trying to sound like the Beatles to most of the industry trying to riggety-rhyme like Das EFX at the height of their popularity, if a sound or style is catchy or profitable it will be recycled ad nauseum. What was peculiar to me was that wasn't the case with Vic at all. Tribe was big at the time ('91), with everyone feeling the Low End Theroy but people moreso tried to emulate the Native Tongue Posse's style than their flow. Other MC's rocked funky shirts and beads with medallions but no one tried to sound like De La, The JB's or Quest for that matter.

I believe that when I first heard Warfield it was on the New Music Report, a late night video show that was affiliated with RUSH/Def Jam. I said "What album is this on?" It quickly became: "Oh shit...that's not Tip!" QD III crafted a listenable, soothing track but it was Jus' flow that was throwing me off. Either consciously or subconsciously (I hope) he was pretending to be Mr. Davis. Not just in vocal tone but even cadence of the rhyme. If you listen to Quest's Pubic Enemy (Saturday Night Virus Disco Mix) on the b-side of I Left My Wallet In El Segundo after the second verse, you can seamlessly lay it down in Vic. Was it a tribute that they used samples from Beyond This World and yes, Description Of A Fool or just young Quincy thumbing his nose at them?

In any event, I find it funny that Warfield's song warns people to "watch their booty" for jackers, thieves and grubbers as it thieves and jacks from another group. Don't get me wrong though, IT'S A GREAT SONG! Although it's bereft of any originality, it's a song I liked because I wished ATCQ had made it. Eventually Warfield rejected the style on his next album and went on to found the group She Wants Revenge. Tip did OK too. Tribe cemented their place as legends in Hip-Hop and broke everyone's heart when they called it quits in '97. Even though it was attempted, what they did cannot be imitated or duplicated.

Nice try though...
Season Of The Vic-Justin Warfield
Pubic Enemy (Saturday Night Virus Disco Mix)-A Tribe Called Quest


Passion of the Weiss said...

This is all Warfield is capable of doing. Dude, grew up, abandoned rap, started She Wants Revenge where he no longer tries to rip off Tip. instead, he butchers Joy Division and Interpol.

Though to his credit, that song "Bug Powder Dust" that he did on the Kruder and Dorfmeister record is pretty ill.

Dart Adams said...

That Justin Warfield album "My Field Trip To Planet 9" had me thinking that he had become possessed by Divine Styler or something. What a weird fuckin' album.

QD III's Soundlab album ended up in discount bins and used record stores nationwide. I did love "Season Of The Vic" when I first heard it...when I heard it wasn't Tip I was like "Huh? What!"


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