Enta Da Stage Vs. Midnight Marauders

Recently at the forum, Jaz (of CDRS fame) devised a poll that asks respondents to choose between two of 1993’s landmark albums, Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage and A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. I was initially fearful that the discussion would devolve into a battle of ad-hominem attacks and unsubstantiated claims, with one camp singing the praises of dark griminess and the other championing meander positivity. Both albums are lauded by cultish fan followings and bolstered by the nearly universal acclaim of established critics.

Marauders is the more widely known, and thus more celebrated album. It is also the more polished production effort and few would disagree that it sounds sophisticated and modern to this day. Enta Da Stage is rougher and almost comically dark in tone. This is not to say that Tribe doesn’t flirt with characteristic early ’90s dark griminess — Midnight is pretty much the sonic and lyrical blueprint for much of Mobb Deep’s early career, as I argue here. But let’s be real – Enta Da Stage‘s lyrics are full of brooding menace, while Tribe’s rhymes run the gamut from optimistic to mystic to downright silly.
There’s little doubt in my mind that both groups were fans of each other’s work. It is well known that Q-Tip went beat digging with Evil Dee and Mr. Walt during this time. Phife identifies Black Moon as one of his favorite rap crews in the Marauders liner notes. Enta Da Stage sounds very much like The Low End Theory‘s more thugged out kid brother. Even Buckshot’s typically melodic and laid back styles seem to be influenced by the Q-Tip’s talky flow; his more aggressive performances (and those of Five Foot Accelerator) remind one at times of Phife’s simplistic but effective technique. Both albums are filled with jazz samples that are stripped down to their most essential groove, in some cases beyond recognition.
Can one of these albums be said to be inherently superior to the other? It’s a tough call and the thread in question has proven to be somewhat contentious. What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments section here or over at the forums.
For the record, I listen to Marauders more these days, but who can front on “Slave” or “Niguz Talk Shit”?
— Thun

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51 Responses to “Enta Da Stage Vs. Midnight Marauders”

  1. Travis says:

    That is so hard to decide, it's almost apples and oranges. I listen to both of them a lot, although in different moods usually. If someone held a gun to my head and told me I could only have one of the albums the rest of my life, I'd probably have to go with Marauders….

  2. Oldsoul76 says:

    My first 2 cd's were enta da stage and midnight marauders. I bought my 5 disc cd changer from nobody beats the wiz when it was in union square and then went to tower records and bought both albums (you should know the city and the area without me even telling you. lol) I still have the cd player. a magnavox 5 cd changer with remote and it still works perfectly. damn, i went from tapes to cd's on those!

  3. Oldsoul76 says:

    oh i didn't answer the debate question! ok black moon's album is a classic. not debatable. Midnight marauders is a classic too. I remember it like yesterday, black moon took more examination to respect, but midnight marauders was immediate. I love enta da stage, but hearing "award tour" on CD on my speakers in my room on that day is incomparable. I give it to mm because of the shear beauty of the music. black moon was the shit and "buck em down" was especially crazy. the hood played that album all night long. but i played those 2 back to back on cd for a month and listened for every little thing, being it they were my first cd's. it was like watching the matrix but in audio form. with that being said, Tribe wins this. IMHO

  4. Bill says:

    These are probably my two favorite albums of '93 (along with "36 Chambers" of course). I would have to give the slight edge to "Enta Da Stage," because it was kind of the first of its kind; that dirty, gritty texture, the subterranean beats. The lyrics are less accessible than "Marauders," but I think they hold up better.

    This one is almost too close to call, but if I could only listen to one of them the rest of my life, I'd go with Buckshot, 5FT and Evil-D.

  5. Jdid says:

    way close to call. although I'd say I have listened to Midnight more I still think Enta Da stage was a classic. If I'm going by lines I can recite verbatim though Midnight gets the edge

  6. Jaz says:

    Thanks Thun, I appreciate this post and for the record I chose Enta Da Stage.


  7. Gloss says:

    MM is perfect. EDS is classic with a few skippable tracks. I cannot say the same for MM.

  8. Abe Beame says:

    Yeah kinda seems like an unfair comparison. I love EDS but MM seemingly gets better every time I listen to it 16 years later. (non-sequiter: is "we can get down" the greatest Tribe beat?) Also a bad time to ask the question. Every summer I run Tribe's top 3 in constant rotation and every winter I listen to Bootcamp. Something I'd be interested to see as a post discussion is Enta Da Stage vs. Dah Shinin. That's one I go back and forth on in my head all the time.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Black Moon is way overrated. Great singles, but take them from the LP and you're left with some fairly average cuts.

  10. Affligem says:

    This is like asking to choose between Megan Fox and Meagan Good. Both albums are so well done and so representative of their respective crew/mind state that it really is unfair to directly compare the two. I heard Marauders first, and I've listened to it more. It's definitely the more "mainstream" album. Abe Beame summed up how I feel about these two albums pretty well, saying that Tribe works better in the summer and Black Moon better in the winter. If I had to go with just one, it would have to be Midnight Marauders, because let's face it: you cannot fuck with "Oh My God"

  11. Andyman187 says:

    I went with Enta Da Stage. The only skippable track on there is Nigguz Talk Shit. I can think of at least 2 or 3 skippable tracks on Midnight Marauders. Midnight, We Can Get Down & The Chase Pt 2…

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