Jive - 2003 - 74 minutes

With rumours of a reunion flying around the Internet this would seem to be the perfect time to revisit this classic hip-hop crew's back catalogue.

A fairly comprehensive Tribe Called Quest 'Anthology' was released four years ago. That seemed to be a fitting coda to the story of a band who blazed a trail through some of hip-hop's finest years. But naturally, some record company genius has decided to take another trip to the well.

As cynical cash-ins go, 'Hits, Rarities & Remixes' is superior stuff. There's a decent selection of classics, particularly from the band's second and third albums, some choice unknown tracks and a couple of reasonable, if hardly essential, remixes.

'Electric Relaxation', 'Check The Rhime' and 'Award Tour' all showcase the sparse, jazzy vibes and infectiously relaxed lyrical styles that made ATCQ such an essential crew.

Early tracks 'Bonita Applebum', 'Can I Kick It?' and 'I Left My Wallet In El Segundo' show the crew in their playful early stages, and while the obscurities ('The Night He Got Caught', 'Peace, Prosperity & Paper', 'Mr. Incognito') don't exactly set the world on fire, they are a cut above your typical hip-hop fare.

If you are new to the Tribe, you should probably pick up the brilliant 'Low End Theory' and 'Midnight Marauders' albums; if you know them already then there's a good chance that you'll want everything they ever recorded - if so, then 'Hits, Rarities & Remixes' is for you.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Oh My God - Award Tour - Can I Kick It - One, Two Shit - Electric Relaxation - Mr. Incognito - I Left My Wallet in El Segundo - Check the Rhime - Lyrics to Go - Scenario - Same Ole Thang - Buggin' Out - Bonita Applebum - Jazz (We've Got) - Glamour & Glitz - Clap Your Hands - The Night He Got Caught - Peace, Prosperity & Paper