Excursions by A Tribe Called Quest Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Tapestry of Hip-Hop Legacy


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

Lyrics

Back in the days when I was a teenager

Before I had status and before I had a pager

You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop

My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop

I said, well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles

The way that Bobby Brown is just ampin’ like Michael

Its all expected, things are for the looking

If you got the money, Quest is for the booking

Come on everybody, let’s get with the fly modes

Still got room on the truck, load the back boom

Listen to the rhymes, to get a mental picture

Of this black man, black woman venture

Why do I say that, ’cause I gotta speak the truth man

Doing what we feel for the music is the proof and

Planted on the ground, the act is so together

Bonafied strong, you need leverage to sever

The unit, yes, the unit, yes, the unit called the jazz is

We deliver it each year on the street for the beat ’cause

You can find it on the rack in your record store(store)

If you get the record, then your thoughts are adored and appreciated

Cause we’re ever so glad we made it

We work hard, so we gotta thank God

Dishing out the plastic, do the dance till you spastic

If you dis, it gets drastic

Listen to the rhymes, ’cause its time to make gravy

If it moves your booty, then shake, shake it baby

All the way to Africa a.k.a. The Motherland (uh)

Stick out the left, then I’ll ask for the other hand

That’s the right hand, Black Man (man)

Only if you was noted as my man (man)

If I get the credit, then I’ll think I deserve it

If you fake moves, don’t fix your mouth to word it

Get in the zone of positivity, not negativity

’cause we gotta strive for longevity

If you botch up, what’s in that (ass) (what?)

A pair of Nikes, size ten-and-a-half (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

You gotta be a winner all the time

Can’t fall prey to a hip hop crime

With the dope raps and dope tracks for you for blocks

From the fly girlies to the hardest of the rocks

Musically the Quest, is on the rise

We on these Excursions so you must realize

Hip hop continually, about the Zulu

If you don’t like it, get off the Zulu tip

So what could 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 into this society

Everything is fair, at least that 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

It could get you hooked like a crackhead junkie

What you gotta do to is know that the Tribe’s in this sphere

The Abstract Poet, prominent like Shakespeare

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

We gotta make moves

Never, ever, ever could we fake moves (come on, come on)

Full Lyrics

The quintessential track ‘Excursions’ by A Tribe Called Quest opens their groundbreaking album ‘The Low End Theory’ with a statement of musical purpose. This isn’t just a song; it’s a narrative that dives deep into the roots of hip-hop, jazz, and societal observations, bridging generations and giving gravitas to the artistry within the urban soundscape.

Dissecting the multilayered lyrics of ‘Excursions’ reveals much more than a tribute to the genre’s forebears; it’s a manifesto of artistic integrity, cultural identity, and historical acknowledgment, delivered with the signature flow of Q-Tip, the band’s Abstract Poet. Let’s explore the purposeful wordplay and the enduring messages enshrined in this iconic track.

Echoes of Be-Bop: Hip-Hop’s Intrinsic Connection to Jazz

The rhyme ‘My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop’ not only provides a personal anecdote from Q-Tip’s own lineage, but it also encapsulates the song’s primary assertion: hip-hop’s evolution is akin to the jazz era. By mentioning the rhythmic and improvisational counterpart in jazz—be-bop—Q-Tip enlightens listeners on the interconnectedness of black American musical genres that are cyclical and ever-evolving.

This homage to musical ancestors sets the tone for a piece layered with cultural resonance and a deep appreciation for historical art forms. The song positions hip-hop as a contemporary rendition of a timeless struggle for expression and recognition in the African American experience.

The Symmetry of Social Commentary and Song

‘Listen to the rhymes, to get a mental picture of this black man, black woman venture.’ Here, Q-Tip uses his vivid storytelling to illuminate the reality of the black struggle and the unity required to forge a positive path forward. Each bar serves a dual purpose: to entertain and to educate, leaving a breadcrumb trail of empowerment and warning.

Through his lyrics, Q-Tip imparts an almost subliminal call to action for both his peers and fans. He posits hip-hop as a vehicle for change—a means to challenge and alter the established social narratives that surround race, artistry, and success.

The Trailblazing Path of the Lyrical Maestro

When Q-Tip raps ‘If you got the money, Quest is for the booking’ he’s not just speaking to the commercial aspect of music production. He encapsulates the intense determination required to make enduring art in an industry often driven by materialism. It’s a declaration that while they might play the game, they are the authentically skilled players shaping it.

‘The unit called the jazz’—Q-Tip renames his group not as mere performers but as innovators akin to jazz musicians, thus elevating their music to a state of high art. It’s a bold self-awareness that demands respect and acknowledgment for their own artistic ‘Excursions.’

Decoding the Seminal Verses of Authenticity

‘You can’t fake moves on your brother or your sis’ – these lines strike at the heart of the song, amplifying the message of authenticity and loyalty. The song admonishes those who would deceive or posture for personal gain, advocating instead a code of conduct rooted in honesty and solidarity.

Couched within the head-bopping rhythm and infectious beats lies a doctrine of ethics, a manifesto for living within a community. The lyrical prescription is clear: to thrive, both in music and life, one must be genuine and true.

Unearthing the Song’s Hidden Meaning Behind The Beats

Beyond the overt celebration of genre heritage and cultural integrity, ‘Excursions’ poses a covert exploration of self. It beckons listeners to embark on their own journey of introspection—to understand the deeper significance of their contributions to the world.

When Q-Tip delivers ‘Hip hop continually, about the Zulu / If you don’t like it, get off the Zulu tip,’ he invokes the Zulu Nation, a foundational movement of hip-hop culture focused on community upliftment. In doing so, he crisply delineates the line between those who are a genuine part of the culture and those who simply co-opt its style for their benefits.

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