I Like The Native Tongue Because They Don’t Act Like Caricaturish D-Bag Minstrel Morons

D-Nice & Heavy D can’t both be wrong, right?

I like the music of the Native Tongue because the rappers, producers, and associated personalities in the inner and outer circles of this loose collective have never acted like insufferable, promethazine-addled, “I’m not a rapper I’m a hustler,” douchebaggery-driven, subliterate troglodytes.

Now, if this statement somehow offends your delicate predilection for all that is jiggnorant, unintelligible, and decidedly Dixie (or bombastically Bompton), step away from your Soulja Boy mousepad, exhale, and count to ten. There’s no sense in firing up WordPress and banging out a jargon-laced and yet effusive knee-jerk response just yet.

Don’t get it twisted – the main reason to listen to ATCQ, De La, The JBs, and the others is to enjoy their music. Unlike half the acts that manage to trend in Twitter these days, such basic enjoyment of the Native Tongue discography is entirely possible before one tries to intellectualize the content of their songs. Even if decades of questionable praise from smooth jazz enthusiasts looking to rescue hip hop from its supposed iniquities sickens you to the core, the combined discography has something in it for you, even if you’ve spent the last half decade attempting to convince your peer group that Juelz > Rakim. Trust.

This is not to say that their legacy is entirely untarnished by mediocre output or questionable artistic decisions, or that their aesthetic cannot wear thin. I’m sure there are legitimate reasons to suggest why the Native Tongue as a whole are overrated in the grand scheme of rap. I am not so smitten by their greatness that I refuse to consider the possibility that others have improved on their formula. I readily acknowledge that some of their stances towards coarser forms of rap are problematic. And if someone simply prefers something that is harder-edged, at least in terms of lyrics, so be it, to each his own.

However, I believe that the legacy of the Native Tongue is secured not only by their excellent musical output, or their by now safe metropole-boho aesthetic, but also because they just seemed so easygoing and cool. Without coming off as licentious, nihilistic, or greedy, they reveled in all that was earthly and pleasurable. Their beats were pulsing, warm, and entrancing. Their deceptively simple “talky” style of flow hinted at worlds beyond comprehension in a manner so effortlessly appealing that the words barely mattered, even though many of their verses are damned near perfect.

In retrospect, they were all so … human, I guess, in a way that most rappers post-ATLiens simply are not. Self-indulgent yet playful, verbose yet affable, vaguely mystic and yet down to earth. Their more ethereal songs feel a bit aimless, almost to the point of being annoying, but rarely do you feel as if these guys are projecting massive insecurities out onto their audience for kicks. Regardless of what their real life personalities were like, you always got the sense that they were being themselves on record (an artistic self, perhaps, but a clearly defined self nontheless) and that they were having fun navigating the gulf between populism and polarization, flirting with widespread rejection. While such existential tumult has driven other talented rappers into premature obsolescence, the artists in the Native Tongue seemed to possess a healthy sense of humor about themselves. Their music has aged beautifully, and they have not been shamed by pink-suit videos or unlistenable R&B collaboratons.

Many thirtysomething rap fans pray daily that in lieu of an actual reunion, a new Native Tongue movement will spring out of today’s pool of young talent. Such longing is sort of superfluous given the sustained relevance of the posse’s musical contributions in the face of a musical cultured that is debased beyond recognition and a reception culture driven by questionable agendas. Rest assured, I am similarly disgusted by the overcompensating praise for prometha-sambo marble-mouthed mongoloids that is all the rage in the blogosphere.

But at the end of the day the discography of the Native Tongue (which continues to grow with the continual discovery of unreleased gems) is here for all of us to rediscover and pass on. And every time it is revisited or shared, the participating listeners will encounter personas that are easily likable. You know, the kind of cats you wouldn’t mind inviting to a family cookout, friends that you don’t feel compelled to go to absurd lengths to justify, good all-around folks. And that’s all that’s needed sometimes. –Thun

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18 Responses to “I Like The Native Tongue Because They Don’t Act Like Caricaturish D-Bag Minstrel Morons”

  1. Cenzi Stiles says:

    this "post" was more like a dick sucking venture that would probably look better on your forum. your website constantly puts out A+ objective pieces, and if we are only gonna get 1 per 10 days in your summer break, I REALLY hope it aint this kind of "i-love-so-and-so-'cause-I-do" type shit.

  2. Thun says:

    Oh, okay. You told me, there.

  3. Thun says:

    And just because you decided to cry about it like I owe you something, I'm writing a piece exactly like this for every day of this month. In fact, we're going to stop everything else we're doing and focus exclusively on it. Nah, scratch that, I'm just going to post this on repeat every day until the sun explodes. Hopefully than you can continue to regale us with your deep meditations on how you would run our site so much better.

  4. verge says:

    Geez, man.
    Let a dude vent some shit that kinda needed to be said. Especially with the faggotalistic state of the blogosphere right now.
    Sure, I'm biased, but I thought it was a refreshing read.

  5. Liam says:

    Good read

  6. Cenzi Stiles says:

    nah man. I am quite disappointed with the way NAtive Tongues was handled on this SPECTACULAR website. I REALLY expected a WHOLE lote more.

    Y'all went kerrrrazy with Gangstarr, and I FULLY appreciated that. So I expected more from Native Tongues, since it was just hiphop's most amazing collective ever. But that's just my opinion.

    Does nobody have any Quest remixes? No Queen Latifah? No Monie Love? No debate over the members? I am sure I am not the only one that thinks that N.T. is just Chi Ali, De La, Black Sheep, Tribe, JB's, Latifah and Monie Love. But I am willing to debate a few others. Y'all just threw in that producer dude and didn't even do a Prince Paul post? I was expecting a real crazy track that I had never heard, some crazy story that might be new to me, something that you guys generally come with.

    So,the fact that you end it with some person's personal opinion was a sad ending. I read the whole thing thinking that he was preaching to the choir. Nothing new under this sun. Yawn…

    I look forward to your next discographic focus, hoping it will be to the Gangstarr calibre.

  7. Gloss says:

    Cenzi – I'm really suprised at you because anyone who is a fan/supporter of this website wouldn't have attacked the writer with your intitial comment in this section. It was an attack, not constructive at all. In fact, with 8 different writers we know not everyone will appreciate every post we do. We know it's impossible to please all but to quickly dismiss the work of Thun's writing in which more seems to appreciate than not, it's just uncool.

    Not everybody has to agree and not everybody has to read everything we do, but to quickly attack our work or the blog as a whole is really lame.


  8. Roy Johnson says:

    Cenzi, an ATCQ non-album track series or a comprehensive Prince Paul post would have taken a shitload of time. Don't complain, man. We did 20 Native Tongue posts (upwards of 40% of our June output), and a few more posts are still on the way. Plus, there's a lot of excellent NT-related stuff in the archives that we didn't bother to rehash. Just run a search and you'll find plenty of material.

    The Shawn J piece had been sitting in the draft folder for several months. It was not originally intended for the NT spotlight. You make it sound like we bypassed Prince Paul to do a post on a much lesser-known producer with ties to NT. Not the case. It was more or less just a convenient plug.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It was a good read. Also, don't listen to those other comments… they just don't know what they are talking about…. this was written by a real fan… and that's what matters. And..well, you SHOULD do a piece like this more often.

  10. Spick Rick says:

    Cenzi is just one of those people who comes here for the downloads.

    Why don't you go to the car dealership and complain about the fact that a car that takes a minute to assemble isn't given out for free?

    Why bitch on TROY? People here are doing more than you're willing to do. "Hi, I'm Cenzi Stiles and I'm frustrated. Why hasn't a Never-Before-Heard Track that I'm too lazy and ignorant to look for, been posted yet? Why haven't you done more of my own work yet? Why do I have to be grateful?"

  11. Thun says:

    Cenzi Stiles drops by every fifth post or so to berate us for not running the website according to his whim and throw in little sycophantic comments on the side, presumably to atone for his rudeness.

    Offhand, I'd say he probably suffers from a mild form of autism.

    In any event, Cenzi – Blogger and WordPress are free. Nobody is stopping you from running your own Native Tongue month on your own blog.

    Though I have this feeling that you do already run a blog somewhere out there… with maybe 6 or 7 subscribers and less than 100 unique visitors per month. Confirm/deny?

  12. Cenzi Stiles says:

    haha.. yaaaawn….

    I don't think I had ever complained on the TROY site… the forum, different story. I give props where they are due. And you Thun get none for being a teeny bopper writer… kiss my ass and just find some obscure Native Tongues shit for me to download.

  13. Gloss says:

    We don't want to just smack you guys with a link and say here download. This isn't a soup kitchen. We try and appeal to everyone and sometimes it's not by uploading an obscure track. Whatever happened to having dialog? Stimulating ideas? What about YOU guys uploading something for us? Besides we're killing peoples hard drives because we've uploaded over 60 gigs this past month alone. Sometimes its cool to marinate on some thoughts, regardless if you subscribe to them.

  14. Cenzi Stiles says:

    actually to answer your questions:

    1 – a good debate would be in order, I agree. we had a good one in the Shawn J post.
    2 – I shared a dope ass black sheep remix that no one else had offered in th Black Shhep track.

    My whole point was, that SINCE THE MONTH WAS ENDING, thus the N.T. special was also ending, I thought that this post was a shitty way to wrap it up.

  15. big chris from austin says:

    thought the article posted a gang of good thoughts, but it started off reall corny though.
    inaccurate blanket statements at the beeginning didnt help either

  16. Aztec says:

    Hating on someones opinion seems like pissing into the wind, its just someones opinion man.

    Its like arguing about which food is the best, everyone likes what they like.

    But if you disagree and feel like you got something mo' better to say than a post, then dont hold out, say that shit and see how it compares.

    Much more interesting than e-gangstering someones work sheeeiit.

    Troy Blog Dominates Please Believe Dat


  17. Guy Fawkes says:

    I've never known anybody to claim that Juelz>Rakim.

  18. thanksforthecrescendo says:

    thun, you made some excellent observations / generalizations here. but i would just like to point out for the record that a few of the best and most slept on albums of the mid nineties were likely addled by some kind of syrup, most notably "sailin the south" by e.s.g. and "up for parole" by 20-2-life. dont get me wrong, im east coast loyal all the way but after 15 years of it i've managed to look around and find some bangers i didn't know about. the idea you conveyed (or at least one i picked up on) that resonates most deeply with me about NT is that it isn't as abrasive as hit pop these days and it is enjoyable to listen to whether or not you are analyzing the lyrics. the shit had a good sound, the beats matched the lyrics. i also hadn't considered how ATL-iens marked the end of the golden era but in retrospect, it was the end of the end. i don't know if i would even want to hear a NT reunion, and i agree with you that the back catalog more than suffices for listening needs. i just keep my fingers crossed hoping a new crew will pop up with a modernized NT sound. needless to say it took me an hour to type this with crossed fingers.

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