“Check The Rhime” is one of the last great two-handed, back-and-forth flows ever. In this day and age, there’s no more hip-hop groups. There’s not one influential hip-hop group right now. There hasn’t been one in a long time. There’s crews and all this stuff, but as far as like a group, a two-man group like an EPMD or Nice & Smooth, it doesn’t even exist anymore. “Check The Rhime” was really perfection. “You on point Phie?” “All the time Tip.” Back and forth, back and forth. It was an update on those old-school park jam type of routines—not like today, where it’s like, “Email me your verse, and I’ll put it in Pro-Tools.”
You can listen to TLET over and over and hear different things every time. You start to really appreciate the subtleties of they way they flow. On “Buggin Out” just the way Phife says “Yo,” before he says anything else. Llike, “Yo, microphone check 1, 2, what is this?” It’s monumental. Then later in the same song Tip has that line “Listen to the mission, listen miss as I do work—ummmm.”
But the flows on MM are crazy too. Look at “Award Tour,” the way they built that hook out of “Right? True.” Or the line where Tip says “Lyrically I’m Mario Andretti on the mo-mo, ludicrously speedy or infectious with the slow-mo.” And Phife’s spazzing out from the start: “Back in ’89 I simply slid in the place, Buddy Buddy Buddy all up in your face.” And on “Electric Relaxation,” that’s where they’re both killing it. “Honey, check it out, you got me mesmerized,” and then you hear Phife say, “I like them brown, yellow, Puerto Rican, or Haitian.” I’ve always liked that line.
This one is too hard. I would have to say it’s a tie. Quest has flows for days, and they always have. Like Phife says on “Butter”: “Deep down in my heart I knew that Flo was good to go.”