A Tribe Called Quest Quotes

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The album shot straight to #1 in the charts and went gold by the end of the year; it would go platinum by 1998. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, while the lead single, "1nce Again", was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Critical reactions were divided but mostly positive. Rolling Stone called it "near-flawless", going on to say that "few hip-hop acts have so sharply captured the surreal quality that defines what it means to be African-American, a quality in which poker-faced humor and giddy tragedy play tag team with reality. " The Source awarded it 4 out of 5 mics and called The Ummah "the most proficient in the rap game at using samples as instruments in themselves". Despite his apparent lack of motivation Spin thought Phife sounded "tougher and more playful than ever", while Melody Maker saw the album as "providing both their best and worst thus far", and "magnetic yet frustrating". In a 1998 farewell article in The Source, Questlove summarized the album's partially frosty reception: