Native Tongues Return With ‘Birds of a Feather’
In what could very well be the greatest reunion in recent memory, hip-hop collective Native Tongues have officially reformed. The group, originally consisting of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers and Black Sheep, has come back together on Black Sheep’s new single ‘Birds of a Feather,’ which features Tribe’s Q-Tip, De La’s Trugoy the Dove and Jungle Brothers’ Mike Gee.
The track, which is set to appear on Black Sheep’s upcoming album ‘From the Black Pool of Genius’, samples Fiona Apple’s ‘The Way Things Are’ off her 1999 album ‘When the Pawn…’ and is available to stream on Black Sheep’s Bandcamp page.
This is the first time since the release of Jungle Brothers’ 1996 track ‘How Ya Want It We Got It (Native Tongues Remix)’ that a song has featured at least one member from the movement’s core members. Native Tongues, which formed in the late ’80s, was based on like-minded positivity and Afrocentric lyricism, while the music was tied together with jazz samples that fused tribal rhythms and hip-hop beats.
The first official Native Tongues tracks are considered to be on Jungle Brothers’ 1988 album ‘Straight Out the Jungle,’ but it wasn’t until ’89 that the three groups appeared on the same song, trading bars on De La Soul’s ‘Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)’ featuring additional guest appearances from Monie Love and Queen Latifah.
And though the Native Tongues movement was based on three groups, the collective maintained a healthy roster of affiliates that included Monie Love, Chi-Ali, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Queen Latifah, Black Sheep, Fu-Schnickens, Truth Enola and Da Bush Babees. The members have collaborated over the years on a number of tracks, but scaled back on collaborations beginning in 2001.
Black Sheep released its debut ‘A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ in 1991, following with ’94’s ‘Non-Fiction’ and ’06’s ‘8WM/Novakane’. The group’s fourth album, ‘From the Black Pool of Genius,’ is slated for release on June 29.