Producer: The Ummah
Album: Beats, Rhymes and Life
Label: Jive/BMG Records
“Yo, is that an R&B singer on the hook? Were those 'jiggy bells'?” Some fans cried foul when A Tribe Called Quest debuted their new sound in the summer of '96. Their first single “1nce Again,” was a step in a new direction for the group, featuring sounds that fit better on Hot 97 than WKCR.
While many accused Jay Dee (The Ummah are rarely mentioned in these discussions) of tampering with and ruining the traditional Tribe sound, Jay was only taking Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed's beats and making them sound bigger, better and most importantly: contemporary. Despite the flack, the song and the album were both nominated for Grammys—and in retrospect were both pretty great.