Throwback Thursday: the Tribe edition

Posted on 12.05.2011


This entry needs to be prefaced with a quote. It comes from John Hannah in the film Sliding Doors (don’t judge me): “Everybody’s born knowing all the Beatles lyrics instinctively. They’re passed into the fetus subconsciously along with all the amniotic stuff. Fact, they should be called “The Fetals”.”

‘What does that have to do with the almighty Tribe?’, you may be asking. Well people, the answer is that anyone born in/around 1981 pretty much just knows all of the lyrics to all of their songs, regardless of whether they are fans or not. It’s just like ‘Baby Got Back’: we were RAISED on the stuff. It was everywhere. We got it in the womb.

My formative years were no exception. In fact, I credit Tribe with my easy, early-middle-school slide into R+B and Hip-Hop listening, even if it was to be undone by Snoop Dogg a few short years later.

Middle school was a rough time for me. Seriously rough. At last count, I had upwards of 30 ‘boyfriends’ in middle school and only like 5 female friends. I can’t remember all of the names anymore and a lot of the faces have become a blur. I have a feeling this number included repeat offenders, though, as I was frequently bouncing between boyfriends at the skating rink and boyfriends at school. Nothing more than holding hands for the most part, but definitely bonding on the emotional, ‘I hate my homework and effing love Prince!’ level.

One of my closest friends in middle school was Angie, whose family ALSO came from NY. We bonded over being outsiders in conservative Bel Air. We also bonded over a love of Tribe and dance music. We fought over which member of Boyz II Men was the cutest. We ran at each other from across the room with pillows on our heads, in order to crash and see if it hurt. I have no idea where she is now, but I miss her tons.

We used to sit on the porch late at night on the weekends with Brian from down the block, listening to 92Q’s live dj sessions. We tore apart rap and hip-hop lyrics to figure them out and memorize them. We loved DJ Flexx’s Water Dance and DJ Kool’s Let Me Clear My Throat.

In the same way that I tried to bring Material Girl to the masses in Elementary school, I attempted to bring Tribe in the 7th grade: in science class. But this time, it was a major success. The class was biology, and the subject was mummification. I was in a group with some kids (although I can’t remember who anymore) and we had to give a report on how mummification works.

And I shit you not, in a few hours on the same day that it was assigned, I had managed to convert ALL of the lyrics from Scenariointo a rap. About mummies. Unfortunately, this was the age of the laser disc and parental consent, so no videos exist of this monumental performance. But it happened. And it was a damn masterpiece. Southampton Middle has never rocked harder, I tell you.

Well, maybe.

But still. It was pretty awesome.

Inside upside come around… Who’s that? BROOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWN!

Posted in: music