39. A Tribe Called Quest "Luck of Lucien" (1990)
Producer: A Tribe Called Quest
Album: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
"Push It Along" is a smooth, optimistic album opener, but People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm really takes off with "Luck of Lucien." The reworking of Billy Brooks' "40 Days" into a funky, engaging account of the immigrant experience in NYC proves that Tribe were intent on expanding not only rap's sonic palette (which at the time drew mostly from the James Brown catalog), but its subject matter as well. The song is based on Lucien Revolucien, a Native Tongue affiliate and rap artist in his own right; he does the ad-libs on this track, produced songs for Beatnuts and Kurious, and released his own material as well.