Check the Rhime by A Tribe Called Quest Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking the Cultural Significance of a Hip-Hop Milestone

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tribe Called Quest's Check the Rhime at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Check The Rhime

Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden,

We used to kick routines and presence was fittin’

It was I the abstract

And me the five footer

I kicks the mad style so step off the frankfurter

Yo, Phife, you remember that routine

That we used to make spiffy like mister clean?

Um um, a tidbit, um, a smidgen

I don’t get the message so you gots to run the pigeon

You on point Phife?

All the time, tip

You on point Phife?

All the time, tip

You on point Phife?

All the time, tip

Well, then grab the microphone and let your words rip

Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am

Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram

I’m like an energizer ’cause, you see, I last long

My crew is never ever wack because we stand strong

Now if you say my style is wack that’s where you’re dead wrong

I slayed that body in El Segundo then push it along

You’d be a fool to reply that Phife is not the man

Cause you know and I know that you know who I am

A special shot of peace goes out to all my pals, you see

And a middle finger goes for all you punk MC’s

Cause I love it when you wack MC’s despise me

They get vexed, I roll next, can’t none contest me

I’m just a fly MC who’s five foot three and very brave

On job remaining, no I’m chaining cause I misbehave

I come correct in full effect have all my hoes in check

And before I get the butt the jim must be erect

You see, my aura’s positive I don’t promote no junk

See, I’m far from a bully and I ain’t a punk

Extremity in rhythm, yeah that’s what you heard

So just clean out your ears and just check the word

Check the rhyme y’all

Check it out

Check it out

Check the rhyme y’all

Play tapes y’all

Check the rhyme y’all

Check the rhyme y’all

Check it out

Check it out

Back in days on the boulevard of Linden

We used to kick routines and the presence was fittin’

It was I the Phifer

And me, the abstract

The rhymes were so rumpin’ that the brothers rode the ‘zack

Yo, tip you recall when we used to rock

Those fly routines on your cousin’s block

Um, let me see, damn I can’t remember

I receive the message and you will play the sender

You on point Tip?

All the time Phife

You on point Tip?

Yeah, all the time Phife

You on point Tip?

Yo, all the time Phife

So play the resurrector and give the dead some life

Okay, if knowledge is the key then just show me the lock

Got the scrawny legs but I move just like Luke Brock

With speed I’m agile plus I’m worth your while

One hundred percent intelligent black child

My optic presentation sizzles the retina

How far must I go to gain respect? Um

Well, it’s kind of simple, just remain your own

Or you’ll be crazy sad and alone

Industry rule number four thousand and eighty

Record company people are shady

So kids watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack

I don’t doubt it, look at how they act

Off to better things like a hip-hop forum

Pass me the rock and I’ll storm with the crew and

Proper. What you say Hammer? Proper

Rap is not pop, if you call it that then stop

NC, y’all check the rhyme y’all

SC, y’all check it out y’all

Virginia, check the rhyme y’all

Check it out, out

In London, check the rhyme, y’all

Full Lyrics

In an era where hip-hop was evolving into a powerful voice of the streets, A Tribe Called Quest emerged as one of the genre’s most articulate and groove-infused storytellers. ‘Check the Rhime,’ a track from their seminal album ‘The Low End Theory,’ doesn’t just surf on a catchy hook or a head-nodding beat. It’s a masterclass in lyricism, nostalgia, social commentary, and an ode to authentic hip-hop culture.

Every verse uttered by Q-Tip and Phife Dawg is densely packed with meaning, from the nostalgic remembrance of days past to sharp critiques of the music industry. Breaking down ‘Check the Rhime’ isn’t just about understanding a song; it’s about dissecting a cultural artifact that has echoed through the corridors of hip-hop history, influencing countless artists and fans alike.

The Reflective Narratives of Linden Boulevard

There’s something exceedingly evocative about a track that starts off with a memory; ‘Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden’ instantly transports the listener to the concrete playgrounds of A Tribe Called Quest’s youth. This isn’t just a trip down memory lane; it’s an anchorage of roots, a celebration of beginnings before the gloss of celebrity.

Linden Boulevard serves as a geotag for their genuine essence, harkening back to a time where their passion for rhymes and rhythms was as pure as it was powerful. In those early days, identity and credibility were forged not in studios, but on the streets where routines were more than performances; they were communal rites of passage.

A Symphony of Symbiotic Delivery

The interplay between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg on ‘Check the Rhime’ is the very embodiment of synergy. Their call-and-response methodology mirrors the conversational roots of hip-hop. It’s not just about showcasing individual prowess but about engaging in a dynamic discourse.

This exchange is more than playful banter between two friends; it showcases the importance of connection and partnership in an often cutthroat industry. Their synchronization suggests that unity and mutual support are the building blocks for enduring impact, outliving flashy trends and transient fame.

Verses as a Vessel for Verifiable Valor

At its core, ‘Check the Rhime’ seizes the microphone as a medium for storytelling and truth-speaking. Where modern tracks might lean heavily into bravado without substance, here we find tales of resilience and authenticity. The duo’s stanzas foreground their character, integrity, and talent without reliance on derogatory themes prevalent in the genre’s landscape during its commercial ascension.

Q-Tip’s statement ‘I’m just a fly MC who’s five foot three and very brave’ underlines stature not in height but in courage and prowess. The song asserts that skill and heart should be the measuring sticks by which artists are judged—qualities that, no doubt, have helped this track endure.

The Hidden Meaning in The Midst of Rhythm

‘Check the Rhime’ subtly dresses a potent message in its attire of rhythm and flow—the pervasive influence of the music industry and its often corrosive effect on artistry. The verse ‘industry rule number four thousand and eighty, record company people are shady’ isn’t just a throwaway line. It’s a profound mistrust of an industry renowned for exploiting talent.

This indictment serves as a caution to aspiring artists to stay wary and true to their vision. The song becomes an anthem for those who wish to navigate the music world without losing their soul. A Tribe Called Quest’s wordplay manages to deliver this sermon without ever sounding preachy, instead embedding it within a danceable track that masquerades as a simple jam.

Echoes of Immortal Lines

Certain phrases from ‘Check the Rhime’ have seeped into the lexicon of hip-hop and beyond, embodying sentiments that resonate deeply with listeners. ‘Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram’ is less a boast than a battle cry for recognition, beckoning audiences of all backgrounds to witness the mastery at work.

The infectious insistence of ‘You on point, Phife? All the time, Tip’ isn’t just about stage presence; it’s about always being ready to deliver excellence, to engage with life’s rhythms head-on. The track is rich with such lines that stick with you, long after the song has ended, creating a legacy of language just as impactful as the beats that carry them.

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