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Meaning of the song ‘Like It Like That’ by ‘A Tribe Called Quest’

Released: 1998

Let’s explore “Like It Like That”, an infectious cut by the trailblazing and ever-innovative collective, A Tribe Called Quest. The crafters of this anthem have created a charismatic club banger where they interweave their reflections of the hip hop scene, their passion for their craft, and subtle social commentary. This lyrical masterpiece is layered with metaphorical richness, an irresistible beat, and characteristic Tribe vibes.

The opening lines, “We was in the back of the joint cooling out, And I saw this girl asked her if she like it like that” establish the setting: we’re in a club, and our narrator spots a girl. It’s a common hip-hop trope. But here, Tribe isn’t just talking about a girl, but symbolically asking hip-hop if it likes their unique style and sound.

When Tribe says “Let my beat keep knocking cause we rock it like that,” they’re showing confidence in their sound. They acknowledge their beat’s power to ‘keep knocking’ or, in other words, to keep resonating with listeners. The phrase, ‘rock it like that’, suggests they dare to be different and confident in their unique style.

A Tribe Called Quest Like It Like That

Moving onto “Put my mic inside your brain zone, dis home dis,” we delve deeper into Tribe’s creative process. The mic in the brain metaphorically refers to the transformative power of their lyrics while reassuring listeners that their craft is home to them.

In the lines “It’s the rhyme, it’s the beat, the vibe all together, That makes the competitors sound like this” Tribe acknowledges their unique musical fusion, claiming its superiority. They’re essentially staking their claim, asserting that their blend of innovative rhymes, beats, and vibes outshines the competition.

The lyrics “Females ride when my niggas just ride, with the songs we creating and musically relating” speaks to Tribe’s clever juxtaposition between the music’s physical effect on people, symbolized by females riding (dancing), and the emotional impact, with their niggas just riding (vibing).

As we reach “Back at the ranch, there’s no car branch, Everybody gonna move when we say move,” Tribe employs ‘ranch’ as a metaphor for the hip-hop scene, where there’s no ‘car branch,’ another metaphor for any diversions or distractions. It’s their way of saying that when they make music, they command the attention of the scene.

Tribe then demonstrates their positivity and encouraging spirit in “You could do it too, I mean hot like we do, it’s a lot like we do and make your own mark.” They extend an invitation to everyone to express their creativity and uniqueness, promoting self-confidence and individuality in their listeners.

Getting close to the closure of the song, we find “Gotta spread love, no matter where you are, Where you at, where you went, cause nobody wants beef.” It’s a testament to Tribe’s temperament, their love of unity, and their preference for peace over conflict — a principle that’s often undervalued in the hip hop landscape.

In conclusion, “Like It Like That” is A Tribe Called Quest in their element: effortlessly blending vibrant storytelling, witty punchlines, and societal consciousness into a captivating anthem. Through this song, they not only express their passion for their craft but also lend a deeper message about unity, individuality, and love. It’s a testament to their enduring influence on hip-hop and why their style still resonates with listeners and artists alike in an ever-evolving genre.

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