The third single from hip-hip collective “A Tribe Called Quest” shows off “Can I Kick It?” on their debut album “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”, released in 1990. The band members consisted of MC and primary producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg, DJ and co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and MC Jarobi White, and were 19 when the song was originally recorded in 1989.
As the track samples some of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”, Phife Dawg spoke to an audience in the UK back in 2011 about the profits from the track. ““That was on our first album [People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm] and the sample is Lou Reed. F**k Lou Reed, man! F**k him. Because we didn’t see no money from that f**kin’ record yet. Really. Here’s what happened – and I take back saying ‘F**k Lou Reed,’ because Lou Reed has every right to say ‘Give me my motherf**king money,’” he told an audience in the UK. “So Lou Reed could have easily said, ‘Oh yeah, a rap group use my sh*t? Alright.’ No. Anita Baker don’t let nobody use her sh*t, period. […] So Lou Reed, instead of saying no altogether, he was like, ‘Yeah, nice! Give me the motherf**king money.’ Like Smokey in Friday.” The song tackles issues around New York politics – referencing David Dinkins in the track, who was New York’s first and only black Mayor in history. The upbeat hip-hop /slow pop track adds an uplifting easy going mood, as well as lyrically being fairly upbeat with the band showing off their musical talents.
The music video was directed by Jim Swaffield and features the group lip-synching the track in alleyways and s giant “IT” sculpture in a white room. It was uploaded to the group’s YouTube channel in March 2014, and has over 5 million views and over 47 thousand likes as of April 2019.
Release Date: 29th October 1990
Songwriter/s: Lou Reed, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Producer/s: A Tribe Called Quest
Label/s: Jive Records & RCA Records
Music Video Release Date: Jim Swaffield