plural noun: excursions
1. a short journey or trip, especially one taken as a leisure activity.
“an excursion to London Zoo” synonyms:    trip, outing, jaunt, expedition, journey, tour
2. technical – a movement of something along a path or through an angle.
“large excursions of the hip and knee-joint”
3. a deviation from a regular activity or course.
“the firm’s disastrous excursion into the US electrical market”

So what can you do in the times which exist,
You can’t fake moves on your brother or your sis,
But if your sis is a [bitch], brother is a jerk,
Leave ’em both alone and continue with your work,
Whatever it may be in today’s society,
Everything is fair, least that’s how it seems to me,
You must be honest and true to the next,
Don’t be phony and expect one not to flex,
Especially if you rhyme, you have to live by the pen,
Your man is your man, then treat him like your friend,
All it is, is the code of the streets,
So listen to the knowledge being dropped over beats,
Beats that are hard, beats that are funky,
They could get you hooked like a crackhead junkie,
What you gotta do is know the Tribe is in the sphere,
The Abstract Poet, prominent like Shakespeare,
(Or Edgar Allan Poe or Langston Hughes)

― Q-Tip, from the track ‘Excursions’, released on the LP Low End Theory (1991)

(From left to right) Ali, Phife and Q-Tip
(From left to right)
Ali, Phife and Q-Tip

Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest jump-started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore and gangsta rap. In essence, they abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks. The “sucka MC” theme had never been completely ignored in hip-hop, but Tribe confronted numerous black issues — date rape, use of the word nigger, the trials and tribulations of the rap industry — all of which overpowered the occasional game of the dozens.

Just as powerful musically, Quest built upon De La Soul’s jazz-rap revolution, basing tracks around laid-back samples instead of the played-out James Brown-fests which many rappers had made a cottage industry by the late ’80s. Comprised of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Phife, A Tribe Called Quest debuted in 1989 and released their debut album one year later.

Second album The Low End Theory was, quite simply, the most consistent and flowing hip-hop album ever recorded, though the trio moved closer to their harder contemporaries on 1993’s Midnight Marauders. A spot on the 1994 Lollapalooza Tour showed their influence with the alternative crowd — always a bedrock of A Tribe Called Quest’s support — but the group kept it real on 1996’s Beats, Rhymes and Life, a dedication to the streets and the hip-hop underground.

While touring in support of 1998’s The Love Movement, the group announced their impending breakup.


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