Phife, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest in the recording studio in New York City on September 10, 1991.

RTB Rewind: The Story of A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario'

RTB Rewind: The Story of A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario'

Published Fri, March 24, 2023 at 1:45 PM EDT

The Low End Theory

In 1991, A Tribe Called Quest released their sophomore album The Low End Theory. The image and sound of ATCQ would change drastically from their debut Peoples Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm. Where their debut framed them as a more bohemian act, their follow-up saw them as a lot more urban visually and musically. The presence of Phife Dawg was greatly increased on The Low End Theory as well, revealing the contrast between his more high-strung and energetic delivery as opposed to Q-Tip's more laid-back and monotone flow. This contrast would take ATCQ from a good group with a solid debut to one of the biggest Hip-Hop acts of the 1990s. The three singles released from The Low End Theory would greatly expand Tribe's fanbase and heightened the anticipation for future music from the group. "Check The Rhime," "Jazz (We've Got)" and "Scenario" are all regarded as classic songs and celebrated as the best from the group's critically acclaimed catalog.

The Scenario

"Scenario," featuring the Long Island Quartet Leaders of The New School was released in March 1992, and raised the bar on posse cuts. Phife sets things off with a classic verse, "A-yo, Bo knows this (what?) And Bo knows that (what?) /but Bo don't know jack, 'cause Bo can't rap/ well, what do you know? The Di-Dawg is first up to bat/ no batteries included, and no strings attached/no holds barred, no time for move-fakin' /gots to get the loot so I can bring home the bacon/ brothers front, they say the Tribe can't flow /but we've been known to do the impossible like Broadway Joe/ I'm all that and then some; short, dark, and handsome bust a nut inside your eye to show you where I come from."

The Remix

The profile of Leaders of The New School was greatly raised on "Scenario" with Charlie Brown's animated verse and Busta Rhymes' incredible verse which introduced the infamous "Dungeon Dragon." The fact that Busta could pursue a successful solo career was the elephant in the room to anyone listening. The video for "Scenario," which was set up like an interactive video editing program, was extremely popular on YO! MTV Raps, Video Music Box, Rap City and other popular rap video shows. A remix of "Scenario" featuring a promising Kid Hood who was murdered just days after recording his verse gave the classic collaboration an additional set of legs. The Leaders of The New School shine once again with their harmonizing and animated flows which are a reminder of what could have been if they were able to continue as a group. Busta once again closes things out, further confirming his potential. "Scenario," in all of its iterations, is an enduring example of the greatness of 90s Hip-Hop.

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