The 100 Best Native Tongues Songs

35. A Tribe Called Quest "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" (1990)

Producer: A Tribe Called Quest
Album: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Label: Jive/RCA

When Tribe first came on the scene, songs like this were hugely polarizing, and their Greenwich Village by way of San Francisco hippie commune style of dress in the video only stoked the controversy. The song is undeniably dope though. They take a rare sample of the Chambers Brothers' "Funky" and tweak it so it sounds vaguely Latin; over this pulsing groove Q-Tip relates a whimsical tale involving a cross-country trek, a midget Mexican guide, a beautiful senorita, fruit punch, and the infamous missing wallet. The details are a little silly, but the song functions well as an allegory about broadening one's imaginative horizons in order to confront reality through artistic expression.

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