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From Plumbers Apprentice to $100 Million - 26 Business Lessons from an Expert Marketer (Conor McGregor)

Conor McGregor went from plumbers apprentice to making $100 Million. This is not all that surprising given he is a sports superstar.
What is surprising is that he did this in MMA, a sport that notoriously doesn't pay this kind of money.
In fact, McGregor's net worth is at least 3X that of his TOP peers in the sport. And if you look at the Top 15 highest-paid fighters in the UFC, three are only there because they fought McGregor.
Conor McGregor is surely a controversial character, but there are surely some business lessons to learn from his rise to fame. After studying his career and countless hours of video, here are 26 lessons I've learned from the man himself.

Lesson 1 - Find a Need in the Market that Needs Fulfilling

When Conor moved to a new suburb, he lost his group of friends and had to start over. As the new guy, he got in his share of fights. Without a group of friends to back him up, he needed to learn to fight so he could protect himself. With boxing training, any potential attackers might find themselves getting more than they’ve bargained for and decide to pick on an easier target.
Crumlin Boxing Club fulfilled that need for Conor, and initiated his journey to superstardom.
In business, you need to find a need with your particular audience. Fulfill that need and buyers will come to you.
Let’s take boxing gyms as an example.
In a rough neighborhood, you’ll find “real” boxing gyms. The boxers here come to learn how to truly fight and even compete.
In “upper-class” neighborhoods, you’ll find more cardio based boxing gyms. The goal at these gyms are more for exercise than actual fighting. You won’t see too many sparring sessions at these gyms.
Both models are successful. Understand your market.

Lesson 2 - Find Your Passion. Try new things

McGregor and Tom Egan, while opposites, met in high school both enjoyed MMA. They watched UFC broadcasts on weekends together. It was Egan who sparked Conor’s interest in MMA.
Conor started dabbling in both MMA and boxing, and eventually, left boxing for his true love of MMA. With this focus, Conor went on to dominate the MMA scene.
In business, even the best entrepreneurs can get burnt out. If you look at Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Steve Jobs, they are all extremely passionate about what they do.
They can and do put in the hours to become the best in their niches. When they speak, you hear the passion and feel drawn to their cause.
It’s hard to be tremendously successful if you hate what you do.

Lesson 3 - Find a Mentor to Increase the Likelihood and Decrease the Time to Success

Although they were around the same age, Tom Egan made it to the UFC first. Conor saw his pal in the UFC, and knew that he had a chance too. The impossible became possible and no longer just a dream.
In business, you need to find a mentor who is ahead of you. Mentors can help you avoid big mistakes.
More importantly, mentors show you what is possible and can create a complete level change in your game.

Lesson 4 - Surround Yourself with People That Want You to Succeed & Will Support You. Stay Loyal to Them.

Dee Devlin has been by Conor’s side since the beginning. She supported him when he was a nobody.
She believed in him.
Dee experienced all of the ups and downs on the path to fame. They grew together.
When you become rich and famous, people try to take advantage of you. It becomes harder to find true friends and romantic partners. Conor avoided this and married the girl who helped him get to where he is now.
Let’s face it, some successful entrepreneurs did not have this support system. They were doubted, laughed at even. This doubt fueled their desire to succeed.
Even so, these entrepreneurs eventually built teams which were so inspired by the entrepreneur’s vision, they eventually do build these supportive relationships.
If you do have this support system, remember who was there supporting you from the beginning. True friendships are an important foundation for happiness as you become more successful.

Lesson 5 - Intense Focus on Your Craft | Decide on What You Want and Put 100% Focus Into It

Not only did Dee Devlin give Conor emotional and moral support, she financially supported him as well. She waited tables so that Conor could focus 100% on his training. She helped him buy healthier foods to fuel his body.
Conor was naturally talented. Adding in 100% focus to his training allowed him to accelerate his skills much quicker.
Most people are juggling too many things. Spending hours playing Call of Duty, late nights drinking, dreaming instead of doing, are taking time away from honing your craft.
The best of the best are practicing. They are making sales calls. In the studio.
With 100% focus and persistence, you will eventually make it.

Lesson 6 - The Law of Attraction | Visualizing Yourself to Greatness

Conor attributes the use of visualization and the Law of Attraction to manifest his way to becoming a champion.
This all sounds kind of crazy, but the same technique has been cited by Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, plus dozens of athletes and mega celebrities including, Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Vonn, Tony Robbins, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Will Smith, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West,.
What is the Law of Attraction?
The Law of Attraction is a belief that a person’s thoughts and focus bring positive or negative experiences into the person’s life.
Conor’s sister Erin, a bodybuilder and fitness model, recommended he read The Secret, a book on the Law of Attraction. He opted for the DVD version.
"Even when I first watched it, I was like, this is bulls--t," McGregor told Bleacher Report in 2015.
But after watching it, something clicked. Conor and Dee started using it to visualize little things, like getting the front parking spots. After seeing it work, he went on to visualize himself as a champion. In fact, his family credits the moment he watched The Secret, as the birth of Conor McGregor, the superstar.
Stop thinking small. Dream big!

Lesson 7 - Fight IQ | Get a Deep Understanding of Your Competition

In his first UFC post fight interview, he clearly said that he thought Brimmage was emotional and would overthrow his shots. Conor fully understands there is the game before the game.
McGregor’s fight IQ is off the charts.
All fighters watch films of previous fights. Try to find subtle tells. They begin each fight carefully, trying to figure out distance and timing.
Watching Conor, it almost looks intuitive. It seems that he knows his opponents better than they know themselves.
This is most evident after the Aldo fight. Video is released of McGregor practicing the exact sequence that dispatched the 10-year winning streak of the champion.
After the fight, Conor said he saw a subtle tell before the bell rang. Aldo’s right hand was twitching. He knew Aldo was going to unload a big right hand that would set up his left hand knockout punch. Seriously, watch the video below. Mystic Mac believes in the power of visualization.
Know your competition. You can outsmart them. Be faster. Have better customer service. Be good where they suck.

Lesson 8 - Be an entertainer. Stand for Something. Be Polarizing. People Will Love You or Hate You & That’s Not Bad.

Dana White knew Conor McGregor was going to be a star the very first time they met. Why?
Dana said it was his personality. His laugh.
What else is underneath this?
Conor McGregor had a clear focus to become UFC Champion and become rich and famous. He had an outlandish personality. He was witty. He would entertain the masses.
I’ve never met Conor McGregor in person, but from most reports from fans and casuals alike, McGregor is a completely different person outside of the ring.
A nice and pleasant guy.
Is the UFC Conor McGregor just a persona?
Who else had success in the UFC with an outlandish and polarizing personality?
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Chael Sonnen
  • Michael Bisping
  • The Diaz Brothers
The WWE has perfected this character. They call them the heel. Conor McGregor may or may not be the heel, but he definitely is polarizing, and he is very much like a WWE character.
Love him or hate him, every MMA and boxing fan knows Conor McGregor.
Like the greatest before him, McGregor knows that almost any attention is good attention.
Step into the MMA forums or a Facebook discussion, and you will see the Conor McGregor haters out in full force.
But guess what, his haters still buy his PPV fights - to see him lose!
If you want to be a public figure, amplify your message. Take who you are, and multiply that by 3X or 10X.
Sure, you want to be authentic. Don’t be someone you’re not. But take it up a notch.
Be exciting. Be an entertainer.

Lesson 9 - Find Your 1000 True Fans | Cater to Your Base

In his first UFC fight, Conor is seen with an Irish flag draped over his shoulders as he walks to the ring. Before he was a worldwide superstar, Conor worked to become the ambassador of Irish MMA.
In fact, as his stardom grew, it seemed half of Ireland would travel to his fights.
The UFC, having dominated the American MMA market, was ready to move into Europe, and Conor McGregor would carry the entirety of Ireland.
Kevin Kelly, editor at Wired magazine, wrote an essay called “1,000 True Fans.” The essay, a must read, states that all it takes to earn a living as creator is 1,000 true fans who will buy your work.
For McGregor, his fanbase started with his countrymen. As his stardom grew, so did his base of fans.
In business, you have to find your core supporters. The people who will buy your product. The people who will share your content. The people that love your product or service so much they have to tell their friends about it.
Find your Ireland and grow from there.

Lesson 10 - Fighting is a Mind Game | Discover Your Opponent’s Weaknesses

Conor McGregor is a master of getting inside his opponent’s head. Often, his opponents become emotional and abandon their game plan or overextend their shots.f
Many fighters talk trash. Many fighters try to intimidate their opponents. They may even come close to actually fighting during staredowns. But - they don’t completely destroy 8 weeks of game planning the way Conor does.
Before the fight with Dustin Poirier, McGregor said:
Just as he says, he defeats Poirier by KO in the first round. Mystic Mac is born.
Dustin Poirier is an amazing fighter. As a fellow Louisiana boy, he’s one of my favorites.
I don’t believe that Dustin was beat in the ring. He was beaten before the fight.
McGregor baited him. Made him angry. Dustin Poirer didn’t follow his game plan.
Conor’s remarks that this is just a game really sums it all up. After the Dustin Poirier fight, we see McGregor take his head games up a notch. The best example is the fight with Aldo.
Aldo went 10 years without a defeat. Fighters were afraid of him.
After defeating Dennis Siver, McGregor jumps the Octagon fence and goes straight for Aldo, showing he has no fear of the champion.
The pre-fight insults from McGregor are being hurled at unprecedented speed - expletives, racist comments, attacking the entire Brazilian nation. But when McGregor steals Aldo's belt, there is one moment when you see the look of defeat on the Brazilian's face.
McGregor raises his hands as if he already knows he’s the champion. Aldo, unable to do anything in the moment, mentally breaks. Maybe it was just a seed of doubt, but McGregor was in his head.
As a small brand, sometimes going after the big guys can be tough. Study your competitor. Find out what they do well and where they are lacking.
No one is perfect. Focus on your competitor's weaknesses. Fill those gaps. Be nimble. Slowly take market share by doing what they cannot.

Lesson 11 - Differentiation - Discover What Sets You Apart from the Crowd

Conor had big dreams. He was already visualizing himself as a massive star. A rich, popular, double champ at that.
How would the double champ act? What would he look like? How would he speak?
Rumors were going around that McGregor was getting easy fights. Maybe it was true. The UFC was investing in his brand to grow the European market. They didn’t want their golden boy to lose yet.
I cannot confirm this through any research, but I’m sure Conor was aware of the UFC’s plans and his role in them.
Instead of denying the matchmaking, McGregor doubles down and talks about his relationship with Lorenzo (one of the owner’s of the UFC). In fact, they even have a tradition of toasting a shot of whiskey after McGregor’s wins.
McGregor has gone from plumber’s apprentice to UFC star. His Lorenzo comments are positioning him as the employee who is winning and dining with the CEO. Isn’t this the dream of all employees?
Go back to the beginning of Conor’s Instagram. It quickly goes from typical fighter to businessman and luxury everything - clothes, cars, private jets.
He dons his trademark suits.
Conor is no longer just a fighter. He’s the guy from the rough neighborhood that made it.
He’s transcended fighter status. He’s different.
In business, marketing and positioning are the key to market domination.
Your brand, your image, your packaging, your customer service. Are they aligned with your target market?

Lesson 12 - Understand the Machine that Drives Your Industry

McGregor worked hard to build his personal brand. He built his profile, entertaining the masses and winning in spectacular fashion.
Winning fights gets better fights. But have you noticed that some fighters keep winning but aren’t given a main event? Maybe they are passed over for a title shot?
Why?
McGregor understood the game. He dove into the machine head on, realizing that putting up big numbers gets you bigger opportunities.
More than anything, the UFC organization is a promotion and hype machine. The UFC’s job is to sell fights, build storylines, and develop fighters.
Conor understands this. He has fully leveraged the UFC’s marketing powers to 10X his brand. He layers his own marketing on top of the UFC’s efforts.
McGregor took chances. He talked smack. He manufactured beef / rivalry. He won his fights in spectacular fashion, and he built his social media empire to engage his fans.
The UFC brass see this. They know his popularity is growing, so they put even more dollars behind him to promote him. He coaches on the Ultimate Fighter Season 22 against Urijah Faber (another very popular fighter). He gets more popular. He pulls bigger numbers. It’s a never ending cycle for now.
With fame and celebrity comes opportunities. Big names pull big money. Bigger purses. Bigger sponsorship deals. And other opportunities outside the ring.
What is the machine behind your industry? Determine how the big boys in your industry are winning.
Is it their sales team? Is it paid ads? Is it media coverage?
Deconstruct the winners and find your way in.

Lesson 13 - When Opportunity Presents Itself, Take Your Shot

When Aldo was injured, Mendes stepped in on 3 week’s notice to fight for the interim title.
Both McGregor and Mendes saw the opportunity, McGregor, an interim belt and Mendes the belt plus a McGregor payday,
While this happens all the time, it is a risk. McGregor was preparing for a different fighter. Mendes didn’t have a full training camp.
In business, opportunities can present themselves at any time. It is up to you to see them and capitalize on them.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later.” - Richard Branson

Lesson 14 - Precision Beats Power, Timing Beats Speed

A fighter studies their opponent to understand their movement, any tells, and potential holes in their game. Conor does this exceptionally well.
In my first few sparring sessions, my biggest surprise was how fast the more advanced fighter's were. Not their hand speed. It was how fast their mind worked. They saw my punches coming almost before I threw them. They were able to move out of the way and counter with ease. They saw something I didn't see.
A fighter with a high fight IQ has:
  • Precision
  • Timing
  • Efficiency
  • Defense
So far, Conor's only hole is his ground game. Standing up, he has the upper hand. After the Aldo fight, he said this:
This quote is a great way to think about business.
Precision beats power. Oftentimes, you are competing with the big boys, the entrenched competitors, or the huge multinational corporation. They have power.
A smaller business can compete with precision. You can serve the customer better. You can offer a more personalized service. You can serve in a profitable capacity, that the big boys are ignoring because it is too small for them. Be precise.
Timing beats speed. Being first to market can help you get first crack at market share, maybe even give you time to build a moat. Yet, timing beats speed. Sometimes it is better to let the first mover establish a market before moving in. You’ll save all the cost of developing the market, and you can learn from their mistakes. Time the market.

Lesson 15 - See the Opportunity & Ask for What You Want

At this point, Conor McGregor basically gets whatever fight he wants. However, Lesson 15 flips the script. This isn’t about McGregor. It is about Nate Diaz.
After Nate Diaz defeated Michael Johnson at UFC Fox 17, he stepped up to the mic and called out Conor McGregor in an expletive filled rant.
This takes us back to another infamous McGregor press conference with reference to “Red Panty Night.”
Conor McGregor brings in huge paydays, and he says a fight with him is cause for celebration. Fighters will make more fighting him than any other fighter on the roster.
Diaz understood this. He saw the opportunity. And he asked for it.
Diaz’s first fight with Conor McGregor earned him 4X what he made for his previous second highest grossing fight.
The second fight went on to earn him more in one night than he made his entire UFC career.
Then, his rise in popularity has earned him a noticeable bump in his post McGregor fights.
What can we learn from this? Too many people can spot the opportunity, but don’t have the balls to go for it.
Ask for the meeting.
Ask for the sale.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. - Wayne Gretzky

Lesson 16 - Rivalries are Opportunities

Nate Diaz was no match for Conor McGregor’s verbal sparring as seen in several pre-fight interviews. But Nate Diaz has his own Stockton “Gangsta” style of dealing with rivalries that fans love.
After Conor shows up 30 minutes late, Diaz walks out. Diaz’s team throws a water bottle. Things get out of hand.
Rivalries can be great marketing opportunities. This clash no doubt sold more PPV’s.
Take a look at Wendy’s taking a shot at McDonald’s on Twitter.
Look at the number of Retweets. Holy crap.
Have some fun. Maybe a rivalry is just the PR stunt you need.

Lesson 17 - Do Not Succumb to Failure. Learn from Your Mistakes. Pivot.

Mcgregor lost to Diaz in their first matchup by submission. Conor analyzed his mistakes in training and particularly his diet.
He put these learnings to use in their second matchup.
Conor came back and won their second fight by decision, in a grueling 5 round matchup.
In business, we experience failures just like in life. Markets change, regulations change, and unprecedented events such as Covid can derail our plans.
You need to be okay with failure. But don’t let a failure go to waste.
Analyze it. See what when wrong. Find out how you could have changed things. Make a plan not to make that mistake again.
Maybe you need to pivot. Maybe you just need to make some tweaks. Either way, a failure can make your business stronger, if you implement the changes necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Lesson 18 - Make History | Change the Game

In the lead up to the fight with Alvarez, a promo is released, and we hear Conor Mcgregor say:
There has not been a UFC champion in two weight classes at the same time. McGregor was gunning to go down as the first in the UFC record books.
At the same time, he would make history as headlining the first MMA fight in Madison Square Gardens. It was truly a historic moment in the world of MMA.
Riches, fame. It means nothing in the end.
But, history?
And just like the story of Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile, Conor opened up the door for other champ champs - Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo.
Too many entrepreneurs are doing “me-too” business. Chasing successful businesses in hopes of making some cash.
The true game changers are going big. Trying to change history.
Truly think about what you can do to change the industry, to innovate, to do the impossible.

Lesson 19 - Leverage Other People’s Audiences

Back in 2015, Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber were announced as coaches on the Ultimate Fighter reality show contest.
The same year, video surfaced of a sparring session between Game of Throne’s “The Mountain”
Each of these appearances allowed Conor to utilize other people’s audiences (OPA) to gain additional fans outside of his current fan base.
The UFC’s Ultimate Fighter series brought in the series’ fans plus fans of Urijah that may not have been fans of Conor and gave them a chance to get to know him over multiple exposures (episodes).
The playful sparring session with The Mountain allowed Conor to gain exposure to the Game of Throne’s audience who followed Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. He’s appeared on the cover of GQ and appeared on the cover of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare.,
McGregor has also had appearances on Conan O’brien’s Late Night and has sung pub songs with Jimmy Fallon.
Speaking of Conan, did you know 23 celebrities own shares in the UFC? Here they are:
  • Ben Affleck
  • Michael Bay
  • Tom Brady
  • Rob Dyrdek
  • Guy Fieri
  • Flea
  • Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye
  • Calvin Harris
  • Anthony Kiedis
  • Jimmy Kimmel
  • Robert Kraft
  • Adam Levine
  • Li Na
  • LL Cool J
  • Cam Newton
  • Conan O’Brien
  • Trey Parker
  • Tyler Perry
  • Maria Sharapova
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Serena Williams
  • Venus Williams
Now this is a genius move by the UFC. By allowing celebrities to own a piece of the UFC, the UFC knows that they will promote the business to their following, bringing in additional fans that would not normally be watching.
McGregor’s biggest example of leveraging other people’s audiences is his crossover fight with Mayweather. Mayweather is boxing’s greatest fighter ever. Not only does Mayweather have a huge audience, this fight would introduce Conor McGregor to the entire boxing audience.
No matter your industry, you need to know where your customers are. Who has a similar pool of leads in their audience?
Partner with another complimentary company that shares your audience.
Get a story written about you and your company in your industry’s magazine.
Go where the fish are, but fish with dynamite.

Lesson 20 - Know Your Numbers | What is the Most Profitable Thing in Your Business?

At this point, Conor McGregor is the highest paid fighter in UFC history.
Yet, he is making peanuts compared to the big names in boxing.
Conor realizes this and guns for the biggest name in boxing, Floyd Mayweather. If he can make this happen, it will be the biggest payday in his career.
Similarly, you need to understand your own numbers. Where is the money?
What product lines are the most profitable? What are the least?
Make decisions based on numbers.

Lesson 21 - Negotiating Like a Pro | Keep it Win-Win, and Give to Get

How do you get the biggest name in boxing, arguably the best boxer to ever step into the ring, to agree to a fight with an MMA fighter who has never professionally boxed?
You need to understand what the other party wants. Not just on the surface. What they truly want.
What would Mayweather possibly want?
  1. Money - Mayweather likes to spend money and is rumored to have financial troubles.
  2. Vanity - Mayweather wants to keep his undefeated record untarnished.
  3. Cash Flow - Mayweather wants big fights. At 43, the window of opportunity is slowly closing.
When Mayweather fought Pacquiao, the purse was split $180 million for Mayweather and $120 million for Pacquiao, according to Kurt Badenhausen.
Big number for sure. What could Conor offer? He has a big name, but he’s not Manny Pacquiao.
Money: Conor offers a better split of revenues. Reportedly, Mayweather took in $500 million with Conor only taking $100 million.
Vanity: On paper, this fight should be the least risk for Mayweather. Sure, Conor has a monster left hand, but he’s not a professional boxer. Mayweather believes he will retain his record.
Cash Flow: McGregor offers to promote the hell out of this fight. With Mayweather believing he has no chance of losing, he also retains his record, assuring he can continue to get big money fights.
Let’s face it. Conor couldn’t lose. Losing to Mayweather in a boxing match doesn’t hurt his brand at all, and he comes away $100 million dollars richer and an even bigger brand.
The secret to negotiating is to have a deep understanding of what the other party wants.
Make the deal win-win. If the other party has massive leverage or if the deal could be a game changer for you or your business, don’t be afraid to give them more.

Lesson 22 - Spend More Time on Promotion

MMA training takes a considerable amount of time.
MMA fighters train in multiple disciplines, lift weights, and do a ton of cardio. They also need time to sleep and recover.
With all this training, how do you even have time to promote the fight?
Still McGregor has taken time to make appearances, go on press tours, television, podcasts, and more.
A lot of fighters hate promoting. It takes time away from the things they need to do to prepare for a fight.
No matter how hard it is, promotion is key to becoming a big name in the sport.
This is great advice, especially for creatives. Creatives spend so much time producing work. It seems productive, but you need to spend equal time promoting.

Lesson 23 - Diversify | You Need Multiple Revenue Streams

As in most professional sports, MMA fighters take a brutal toll on their bodies. It is hard to determine the average fighter’s career length, but the 9-year rule, stating that fighter’s start to decline around the 9-year mark, is a good indicator.
This means that most fighters only have 10 years to maximize their career earnings in the sport.
McGregor has done this through sponsorships:
  • Burger King
  • Beats by Dre
  • Monster Energy
  • David August
  • BSN
  • Anheuser-Busch
  • HiSmile
  • Betsafe
He has a residency deal with the Wynn Las Vegas for his post fight after parties.
He owns digital properties selling workouts (McGregor FAST Program), emojis (MacMoji App), the MacTalk App, and the everything McGregor and MMA website, the Mac Life. All of these generate additional revenue.
Then like a true Irishman, he started his own line of whiskey, Proper 12, just in time before the biggest fight of his MMA career against Khabib Nurmagomedov. In a genius move, McGregor sponsored his own UFC fight to promote his new whiskey. The brand has reportedly brought in $1 billion in sales in its first year.
Changing markets, the economy, or a pandemic can all change everything in an instant. It is important to have multiple revenue streams to both maximize revenue generation opportunities and safeguard you from a change in circumstances such as a lay-off.
Side Hustles are becoming more and more popular!

Lesson 24 - There is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Conor McGregor and his team’s bus incident ignited a flurry of bad press. A string of bad publicity follows. Let's take a quick look at the Google trends for Conor Mcgregor searches over time:
There are 12 peaks indicating high searches:
  1. Becomes Cage Warriors Double Champ (& tweeted by Joe Rogan)
  2. McGregor vs Mendes (& interviewed on Conan)
  3. McGregor vs. Aldo
  4. McGregor vs. Diaz I
  5. McGregor vs. Diaz II
  6. McGregor vs. Alvarez
  7. McGregor vs. Mayweather
  8. McGregor Bus Incident
  9. McGregor vs. Khabib
  10. Accusation of Sexual Assault
  11. Mcgregor Bar Fight
  12. Mcgregor vs. Cerrone
Numbers 8, 10, & 11 are all bad press.
But an old saying by P.T. Barnum rang true.
The fight with Khabib went on to become the biggest fight in UFC history.
Now the saying isn’t 100% true, we’ve all seen bad press sink a company, but let’s be real, this is the fight game. The fans secretly loved it. Come on, he’s a fighter. We expect this.
Bad Publicity can actually help smaller brands, as it still gets eyeballs on the product, service, or person. The strategy definitely has some risks, but we’ve seen some major brands built with bad press (think Kim K’s sex tape).
However, larger brands can lose a lot of business with bad press.

Lesson 25 - Forward Momentum Propels You Forward | Choose Your Battles Wisely

After a long lay-off between the Khabib defeat, Conor needs to win a big fight to get back in title contention.
Donald Cerrone is a great matchup. It is a fight he is expected to win as he is a -300 favorite according to oddsmakers. Plus, Cerrone is one of the most entertaining fighters to watch with his stand and bang style.
McGregor’s quick win over Donald Cerrone provides him with forward momentum once again and vaults him right back into title contention.
Look for little wins. Forward momentum propels you forward, boosts your confidence, and reinvigorates your motivation.
Set goals. Blast them. Keep moving forward.

Lesson 26 - Be Willing to Walk Away if the Deal Isn’t Right

At this point, McGregor wants a big fight.
A rematch with Khabib, a contender’s fight against Gaethje, or a spectacle with either a Diaz trilogy or the BMF holder, Masvidal.
No other fights really make sense right now.
Maybe Conor will take a rematch with Floyd Mayweather or perhaps the talks about Pacquiao are true. Who knows.
Without the right match on the table, Conor decides to sit on the sideline until the right deal is presented.
Sometimes it is better to walk away and keep your stock high than to take a bad deal.

Bonus Lesson 1 - Take Care of Your Body & Mind

As an elite athlete, surely Conor McGregor is in great shape. Yet, it was a story about Lebron James that changed his entire outlook on training and mindset.
Lebron reportedly has a cadre of trainers, biomechanists, massage therapists, nutritionists, and personal chefs that have all contributed to his longevity in the sport. He does cryotherapy and spends time in the hyperbaric chamber. It was even reported that Lebron took ballet classes to help with his footwork.
He spends roughly $1.5 million a year on his body.
After McGregor read this, he knew he had to invest in his own body.
It seems he also worked with Tony Robbins, the ultimate life coach, to help with his mental state.
Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends. Choose three.
The above is a running joke in the startup world. It is hard to juggle everything when you’re busy trying to change the world.
Physical fitness and mental health are extremely important. Keep in shape and you’ll be more productive, have more energy, and be able to think more clearly.

Bonus Lesson 2 - Develop Unbreakable Confidence

Conor McGregor exudes confidence. While all professional athletes share this trait, Conor’s confidence is off the charts even for professional athlete standards.
A lot of people mistake McGregor’s confidence for arrogance. Understandably so.
Yet, Conor believes what he is saying.
I’ve watched countless hours of pre-fight interviews of both Conor and other fighters. Conor McGregor has absolute certainty he is going to win.
Other fighters also believe they are going to win. However, you can see faint tells, twitches, micro expressions, or even vocal uncertainties in their responses. Subconsciously, somewhere deep down, the fighter has doubts. Doubts in themselves and doubts in their abilities.
This is not evident anywhere in Conor McGregor’s UFC career. This does put the Tony Robbins coaching into perspective. DId Conor need help getting his confidence back after he was defeated by Khabib? Tony Robbins would be the guy to get your mojo back!
I believe there are two main drivers to success in business:
  1. Believing in yourself
  2. Having something to prove
Confidence gets you on the road to success. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be willing to take the chance at greatness.
On the flip side of the coin, there is one group of people with low confidence that also have the ability to make it big - someone who is determined to prove their worth. These people are so determined to be successful their lack of confidence does not scare them away. Slowly, they become confident along the way.

Bonus Lesson 3 - Be Grateful

The one thing that surprised me in the research for this article was how grateful he is for everything he has accomplished.
Conor Mcgregor, an international sports legend with $100+ million dollars. A man that could have anything he wants. And he is truly grateful for his success.
No matter your success in life, this one is the key. No amount of money will ever make you happy. But gratitude - for your family, your friends, your lifestyle, for every little positive thing in your life that you take for granted, that is the real key to success and happiness.
If you enjoyed this, the full article can be found here.
submitted by PaulChittenden to EntrepreneurRideAlong

5

Throwback Write-Up #3: A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm / (30 Years Later) [Discussion]

Mod's note: Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of People's Instinctive Travels. This write-up will also serve as the 30 Years Later Discussion Thread

Artist: A Tribe Called Quest

Album: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

Listen:
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Background

Producer and MC Kamaal “Q-Tip” Fareed, the late MC Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, DJ Ali Shaheed Mohammed, and MC Jarobi White make up A Tribe Called Quest. They came together in Queens, NY in 1985, where Tip and Phife were childhood friends, and went to high school with Shaheed and Jarobi. The name "A Tribe Called Quest" was penned by the group The Jungle Brothers. The two groups were a part of the Native Tongues collective, a group of hip-hop artists that focused on positive-minded and good-meaning Afrocentric lyrics, while incorporating heavy sampling and jazz-influenced beats. Other members included De La Soul and Queen Latifah. Through the Native Tongues, Tip earned himself guest spots on The Jungle Brothers and De La Soul albums, propelling the Tribe to labels' eyes - initially, no label wanted to sign them, but Tip's appearance on 3 Feet High and Rising earned them a contract with Jive Records in 1989.
They began recording Travels later that year and finished early in 1990. Tip described the recording process as exciting, since all there was to do was record and make music. Sampling plays a huge part in the album, as Tip and Shaheed would listen to records several seconds at a time to re-work them in relationship with other records that would fit. While recording, Shaheed played all live instruments, DJ scratches, and programming, while Tip handled everything else with production, including sampling and mixing.
The album is playful, cheery, and laid back. It is a breath of fresh air so to say, in a time when gangsta rap was beginning to dominate the mainstream. It paved the way for the alternative hip-hop and jazz rap subgenres, and proved to be massively influential in its production, stemming from the breaks that Q-Tip chose to sample. And how about that title? Shaheed described it as:
It was something that Tip was toying around with. He was messing around with different words and putting stuff together. He wanted to make the title something people would remember. I remember when he told me, it sounded so crazy that I was like, “Let’s go with it.” It really made sense. Thinking about the words in the title, they really defined the mission and our thoughts at that time. We really wanted people to believe in our music and to open themselves up to it. We wanted to unite masses of people together. This is why the people that are painted on the album cover are different people painted with different colors. It was representative of humanity and mankind and people coming together over the love of our music. The title was fitting.
So without further ado, this is People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

Track by track, plus some notable lines

Push It Along – This ain’t trial and error, more like tribin’ era
  • The album opens with a baby crying, set against some soft chimes. Almost as abruptly as it began, a smooth bassline and mellow horns come in, a sample from George Washington Jr’s “Loran’s Dance,” set to some drums sampled from Junior Mance’s “Thank You Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Agin.” These two jazz-funk samples provide the beat to Push It Along, as Q-Tip comes in with his signature laid-back flow. The first words ever spoken on a Tribe song are “Q-Tip is my title,” as Tip casually informs the listener what they will find out later – this is Tip’s album. He commands the driver’s seat and never lets up on the gas, proving his prowess both as an MC and as a DJ. A simple chorus comes in, repeating the words “Push it along, push it along, push it along, yeah push it along,” right before the 5 Foot Assassin comes in for his first verse as a part of the Tribe. Phife Dawg bounces on his verse about sitting back and chilling, as Q-Tip gets off two more verses, both about some small worries in life. But he reassures that “this ain’t trial and error, more like Tribin’ era,” letting the listener know that this is what the Tribe is all about – mellow bars about relaxing. All you gotta do is push it along.
  • After the final chorus, the bass from Eugene McDaniels’ “Jagger the Dagger” plays behind Jarobi calling out to the rest of the Tribe, to the Jungle Brothers, and other members of the Native Tongues. This outro appears on a few of the other tracks, specifically After Hours, Bonita Applebum, Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts), and Ham ‘n’ Eggs. Jarobi ends the song by saying “A friend of mine asked me about the Luck of Lucien,” bringing us into the second song on the album.
Luck of Lucien – Listen very close, ‘cause I don’t like to boast
  • Luck of Lucien opens with one of the most recognizable melodies in history, sampling the trumpets from The Beatles' “All You Need Is Love.” Interestingly enough, the portion from “All You Need Is Love” that the Tribe sampled borrows from “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem. This fits in with the theme of “Luck of Lucien,” as Q-Tip tells the story of Lucien Revolucien, a French hip-hop artist who was part of the Native Tongues and featured on Afrika Bambaata’s "Hip-Hop Against Apartheid"/"L'Unité Africaine." Q-Tip takes charge of the song, rapping over Billy Brooks’ soul-jazz song “Fourty Nights,” a beat that sounds reminiscent of a car or light beer commercial on an NFL Sunday, or also of the Rocky theme song. Nevertheless, Q-Tip talks on Lucien’s naivety regarding America – Lucien eats snails, got scammed by a crackhead selling a VCR, and knows nothing about picking up women. Tip ends the song by praising Lucien’s resilience, and bids him luck in his endeavors ahead, as is the luck of Lucien.
After Hours – Like always, the Quest begins in the mist though the rhythms moving
  • One of the more straightforward songs on the album, Q-Tip raps about his experience late one night. Set to a direct sample of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Remember Who You Are” and the drums from Les McCann’s “North Carolina,” Q-Tip vividly paints a picture of New York City at ten past one in the morning. He’s struck out and “couldn’t catch a fish,” grabs some beers and an apple juice, watches the moon in the sky, meets up with the rest of the Tribe, talks with them about hip hop, the economy, and taxes as the night turns into morning. You know, a typical night out. The climax of the song comes after Tip’s second verse, where the morning wind is on its way in, as you “hear the frogs dancing in the street, once again Ali will bring up the beat,” replacing a chorus for frogs croaking. The night is then over, the sun is out, and Tip heads on home to start up the rhythmic path. After hours, it was cool.
Footprints – Footin up and down like a UNLV Rebel
  • Footprints is one of Q-Tip’s most impressive works. He packs in dense rhymes on one of the quickest-paced songs on the album, rhyming about his day to day travels and the footprints he’s left. One of Tribe’s most complex, the beat is made up of samples from Donald Byrd, horns from Stevie Wonder, and drums from Public Enemy. And even though he took a backseat on it, Phife holds the song in pretty high regard too - It’s one of his favorite Tribe songs:
Lyrically, Q-Tip is pretty much genius on this one. And I love the Stevie Wonder sample, the way he flipped it and the drums.
I Left My Wallet in El Segundo – Damn, Tip, what did you drive so far for?
  • Sometimes, simpler is better. Up next is one of the most recognizable Tribe songs, and their debut single. The song opens with a Spanish guitar sample from The Young Rascals’ “Sueno,” as Q-Tip tells his story over the instrumental to The Chambers Brothers’ psych-soul song “Funky.” Tip’s story is a pretty obvious one – he left his wallet in El Segundo. One day, his mother left for a month-long cruise trip and, like any responsible parent, left her son home alone. Tip calls up Ali, and the two go for a drive. Ali had the cash, and next thing they know, it’s two and a half days later and they’re out of New York and over in El Segundo, California. They stop for lunch at a pub “in the middle of nowhere, anywhere would have been better.” Ali tells Tip to pay, and just as he’s doing it, Tip sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Enchanted by her beauty, it takes Ali to snap him out of his trance, as they head on back to New York. But what do you know, Tip forgot his wallet. In El Segundo’s heat, their car sputters for a bit, but all works out and three days later, they’re back home. Tip checks his pockets and the car, and says to Ali that they gotta go back, “Because I left my wallet in El Segundo.” When speaking on the song, Tip says that he chose El Segundo as a reference to the 70s sitcom Sanford and Son, where Fred Sanford, the show’s namesake, would reference El Segundo as a punchline to his jokes.
Pubic Enemy – The king is in the kingdom to await his fate… of the enemy
  • What really is the pubic enemy? With this cut from Travels, Q-Tip tries his hand at a PSA regarding STDs – specifically pubic lice (crabs). The New York DJ Red Alert, the Tribe’s manager at the time, makes a guest appearance as well, for one of the few features on the album. Unlike the past few tracks, Tip is just the storyteller this time, and not speaking from a first-person experience. In the first verse, he talks about a woman who has just woken up from a one-night stand, and, in the morning after, begins to feel an itching and scratching in her pubic region. She knows what’s happened, and goes to the doctor, only to confirm what she already knew – it’s crabs. Tip’s second verse tells of Old King Cole, who is in love with his wife, although Tip has his doubts. Cole runs around with hookers, and one night, his wife catches him scratching and scratching at his pubes. She knows that it’s the pubic enemy, and that he didn’t get them from her. She runs off, devastated that he would cheat on her. In his last verse, Tip condemns the monster that is the pubic enemy. All of this on one of Tribe’s most unique beats, composed of a piano sample from Luther Ingram’s “Pity for the Lonely” and the drums from Rufus Thomas’ “Do the Funky Penguin.” Red Alert then speaks on what it means to be a propmaster, directly leading into one of the most notable songs on the album.
Bonita Applebum – Hey, you’re like a hip-hop song, you know?
  • Bonita Applebum, the second single from the album, is a straightforward love song from Q-Tip to what many suspect was a woman he went to high school with, who had a fat ass. Bonita is Spanish for “beautiful,” while applebum refers to an apple bottom, or fat ass (I don’t blame you Tip). One of the album’s smoother and jazzier beats, it samples RAMP’s “Daylight” for the main backing, Rotary Connection’s “Memory Band” for the “la la la la” in the intro and for the iconic “buhbuh buh buh” throughout the song, and Little Feat’s “Fool Yourself” for the drums. In 1985, Bonita was one of the Tribe’s first demos. Initially, Tip used a conventional rap delivery, but after reading a Miles Davis interview talking about spacing and rest, he decided to switch up his flow and rap in the way that made it to the final recording.
  • On its 25th anniversary re-release in 2015, Bonita Applebum was retitled “Bonita Applebum – includes ‘Can I Kick It’ Intro.” The McDaniels’ “Jagger the Dagger” sample returns for a third time on the album, as Jarobi asks if he can kick it, leading us into the centerpiece of the album.
Can I Kick It? – Yes, you can
  • Where to begin with this one. Lou Reed’s groovy and iconic bassline. One of the most well-known call and response choruses, and its simplicity and catchiness. Q-Tip’s soft and welcoming verse. One of Phife Dawg’s best verses in his career. His shoutout to Mayor Dinkins. That the two of them were only 19 when they recorded it. The music video that perfectly encapsulates all that Tribe is about. If you were to ask a random person on the street if they know a Tribe song, they would most likely say Can I Kick It. It is one of the Tribe’s best songs, and even holds a place in the top tier of all hip-hop songs ever. It’s a perfect microcosm of the Tribe, as Q-Tip says it best:
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug Afrocentric living is a big shrug A life filled with fun that's what I love
  • Tribe just wants you to have fun, lay back, enjoy the music, and kick it with them. Sampling Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” one of the most recognizable basslines in hip-hop adds a warm and relaxing vibe to the middle of the album. Fun fact: Tribe never saw a penny from the sample, even though it was cleared, Lou Reed took all the profits. Phife revealed this in a 2011 rant. Tribe’s influence would be seen for many years following Can I Kick It’s release, as artists including Jay-Z, MF DOOM, Drake, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Logic, and many more have all sampled or interpolated the classic track.
Youthful Expression – Get the force like Wan Kenobi
  • “Youthful Expression,” like most of the other tracks, is anchored by its bassline. But what sets it aside from the others is its organs. Here, the beat is provided by jazz-funk and soul-jazz artist Reuben Wilson’s “Inner City Blues.” Groovy and upbeat, Q-Tip raps for two verses on the youth of today, lamenting against politicians and rap promoters, while showing some optimism for the future of hip-hop and the Afrocentrism movement. He also goes and restates the Tribe’s motto:
Bustin caps, finger snaps I prefer the second for ghetto tracks
  • At the time of Travels’ recording, NWA and Ice Cube were reaching mainstream audiences and proving that gangsta rap was here to stay. Q-Tip instead prefers songs that you could dance to and relax to. That’s where this album comes in.
Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts) – If you feel uptight and you need to freak, it’ll be alright once we drop this beat
  • Building off of “Youthful Expression” and as implied in its title, “Rhythm” is devoted to the art of moving your butt. Or dancing, if you haven’t figured that out yet. Less jazzy and more synth-focused, its beat is a bit less complex than the prior songs. The synth comes from Grace Jones’ “Pull Up To My Bumper,” as Tip drops his verses on nothing in particular, simply acting as placeholders for the listener to lay back and enjoy the beat. Prince Paul of the Native Tongues opens the song with a statement that “The Native Tongues are about to proceed with the usual lingo, the usual rhythm.” In 1988 and 89 respectively, the Native Tongues saw The Jungle Brothers - Straight Out the Jungle and De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising. Q-Tip featured on both of those albums, so now, in 1990, it was his and the Tribe’s turn with Travels. With a buttery chorus of the repeated and whispered phrase “I got the rhythm, you got the rhythm” between Tip’s verses, “Rhythm” proves to be a classic entry in the Tribe’s lexicon. If you hear this and you don’t wanna move your butt, then I don’t know what to tell you.
  • McDaniels’ outro returns for “Rhythm,” as Jarobi proclaims “What about our DJ? Mr. Muhammad,” which brings us right into the next track.
Mr. Muhammad – Muhammad push the button, sample sing the score
  • Who is Mr. Muhammad? As said in the previous song’s outro, he’s the DJ – Ali Shaheed Muhammad. In high school, he would occasionally link up with Q-Tip in Tip’s rapping, as the two of them saw themselves as a duo. They began making demos, as Phife would later join them, forming A Tribe Called Quest with Jarobi White. With a track dedicated to their DJ, “Mr. Muhammad” shows off Shaheed’s prowess as a DJ. Here, he slows down Kool & the Gang’s “Electric Frog” and intersperses it with sampled vocals from an Earth Wind & Fire cut. Q-Tip and Phife both put down some understated verses meant to just be placeholders to show off Mr. Muhammad’s talents. Full of scratching interludes, beat pauses, beat drops, and drum breaks, Mr. Muhammad crafts a beat that sounds like wading through water as waves crash next to you. It’s an often overlooked Tribe cut that deserves every bit of attention it gets, as each member (sorry Jarobi) shines. Phife even namedrops Vice President Dan Quayle in his verse.
Ham ‘n’ Eggs – A tisket, a tasket, what's in mama's basket?
  • As mentioned before, sometimes simpler is better. The premise of this song doesn’t get any much simpler – Tip and Phife don’t eat ham and eggs. Why? They’re high in cholesterol. Borrowing the drums from Freda Payne’s We’ve Gotta Find a Way Back to Love and the bass from Funkadelic’s Cosmic Slop – 01 – Nappy Dugout, the song opens with one of the easiest choruses to memorize. None of the members of the Tribe eat ham or eggs. Tip and Phife then recall a moment at one of their grandmothers' house where they could smell the breakfast cooking. But yet, they don’t eat ham ‘n’ eggs. After the next chorus they each return to rap about their favorite foods. That’s it. Simpler is better, and they both have a very refined palate that they describe. The song ends with an extended chorus as more members of the Native Tongues come in to profess whether or not they eat ham ‘n’ eggs: Afrika of the Jungle Brothers does not, while Posdnous of De La Soul and a man named Gary both do. So, in conclusion, don’t eat ham ‘n’ eggs, they’re high in cholesterol.
  • McDaniels’ outro returns once again, as Jarobi asks for the right side to chant “funk” and for the left side to chant “rhythm,” two of the central themes to the album. After a minute of side to side chanting, the next track comes on in
Go Ahead in the Rain – Even though the rain starts pourin, start reachin, star soarin
  • The penultimate track opens with a few words from the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Sampled from “Rainy Day Dream Away,” the song opens with “Rain all day, rain all day, don’t you worry,” set to sounds of a rainstorm. Then the beat comes in, and, like its predecessors, it’s groovy, funky, jazzy, and meant to get you up off your feet. What sets “Go Ahead in the Rain” apart from the others however is that the track sampled isn’t a jazz song, but rather a funk rock/disco song, as Slave’s Son of Slide provides the main beat, with Brother Jack McDuff’s “Classic Funke” lending its drums. Tip then rhymes two verses where he once again proclaims Tribe’s electricity and encourages the listener to get up and move to the beat, while at the same time asks them to “go ahead in the rain,” with the times of grimness and oppression. Even though it’s pouring, the Tribe still knows how to go on and get down and enjoy the fruits of life. Don’t let a little thing like rain keep you under.
Description of a Fool – Who would love a woman, turn around, and abuse her?
  • To end the album, Q-Tip describes a fool, and calls out the fools he sees in his daily life. In the first verse, he speaks to a crack dealer, intimidating both his friends and enemies. Tip teases the dolt, and the man reacts angrily, threatening violence. What else can he be? Nothing more than a fool. In his next verse, Tip then describes a woman he knows. She is caught up in an abusive relationship, as her ex-boyfriend is a psycho who threatens her life and physically abuses her. Tip laments on “who would love a woman, turn around and abuse her? Only a fool as described by the Tribe.” He then turns to describe another scene he witnessed one day, observing a couple in the park, as a young man bumps into the boyfriend. The boyfriend grabs the young man by the neck, demanding respect, but the young man hits the boyfriend and walks off. The foolish boyfriend is left embarrassed, and Tip’s story concludes. He ends his verse by advising the listener to avoid being a fool and to stay grounded in reality, “and try to avoid the description of a…” as his voice cuts out. The beat is crafted together from Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s “Running Away,” Sly and the Family Stone’s “Runnin’ Away,” and BT Express’ “Still Good – Still Like It.” After Tip’s verse, the beat rides out for another three minutes to close out the album, thus concluding the People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

Discussion and Closing Remarks

I'm not going to pretend that this album is anything more than what it is. It's not some lyrical masterpiece that tells an intricate story over the course of an hour, but rather an album for the sake of being an album. Half of the tracks are made to let the listener get loose and have some fun, and the other half are full of cheery nonsense and the mundanities of life. That's what the Tribe set out to make, and they hit every mark.
Upon its release, Travels was met with universal acclaim. Critics everywhere lauded it for its innovative style, exemplifying the Afrocentric living, and its focus on the music itself. The Source hip-hop magazine even gave Travels the very first 5-mic (out of 5) rating in its publication history, calling it a "completely musical and spiritual approach to hip-hop," and "a voyage to the land of positive vibrations, and each cut is a new experience."
If one thing is certain on this album, it's that it is Q-Tip's album. Though he and Phife are the core members and centerpieces of the Tribe, Phife is only on four of the songs. Tip was the only member present at every single recording session. Phife Dawg later commented that,
"I was being ignorant on that first album, that’s why I was only on a couple of tracks. I was hardly around. I would have rather hung out with my boys on the street and got my hustle on rather than gone in the studio. I wasn’t even on the contract for the first album. I was thinking me and Jarobi were more like back-ups for Tip and Ali, but Tip and Ali really wanted me to come through and do my thing."
The beauty of this album is that it's made exactly for that guy who's just hanging around with the boys, and looking for something fun to throw on and groove to.
The album isn't held in as high regard as some of the other Tribe albums, but I argue that it is the most important for the group themselves. Tip shines so brightly, and it very obviously gives him a ton of confidence that he uses to craft five more classic albums after this. In his four songs, Phife shows incredible potential, and drops one of his all-time best verses on Can I Kick It. The Low End Theory is no doubt Phife's breakout moment, and we get glimpses of what's to come in this prologue to his career. And as he goes on to show in the next albums, Shaheed puts his spinning talent on full display for the entire hour - I don't think there's any other song that's made me move my head quite like Mr. Muhammad has. Jarobi is the black sheep of the group. While he provides backup vocals, he doesn't rap a verse on the album, and his recorded demos for The Low End Theory were never able to see the light of day. Between these two albums' releases, he left the group to pursue his culinary efforts. That hustle did actually end up working out for him, as he is a professional chef. After he left though, the Tribe still saw him as a member of the group. And although it'd be nice to see what he could've done on the other three albums, his return in 2016 on "The Space Program" is an all-time great moment.
In a sense, this album is a prologue to all that the Tribe is about. It serves as a preview of what's to come - it's steeped in Afrocentrism, as they later elaborate more on. Being the highest grossing member of the Native Tongues shows that they helped get the message out there. When I think of alternative hip-hop, Tribe is the first artist that comes to mind. Talking about philosophy, peace, and just relaxing for relaxation's sake all the way back in 1990 helped pave the way for so many. Yeah, alternative hip-hop is a super broad term, but their influence cannot be understated. They successfully bridged the gaps between both jazz and hip-hop and the older and newer generations in a way that not many have been able to do. Their production directly influenced their contemporaries, helping change and shape the sound of hip hop. Dr. Dre’s debut The Chronic was directly inspired by The Low End Theory, and Pete Rock stated, "There were times when I would walk into a record store and see Q-Tip sitting on the floor with his glasses on, going through albums, looking for beats ... I was like, 'This guy is serious.' Being around [them] made me step up and become even more serious than I was." The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders get all of the attention when it comes to influence, but everything that they have, you can find in Travels.
Discussion Questions
  • Favorite song? Favorite verse?
  • Sampling is a huge part of this album. Which sample is your favorite? Is that also your favorite beat on the album?
  • Tribe's influence stems all the way from artists like Consequence, Busta Rhymes, and J Dilla, to Andre 3000 and Talib Kweli, to Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West (and, by extension, every artist that Dilla, 3 Stacks, and Kanye have ever influenced). Where do you most see Tribe's influence?
  • Upon the 2015 25th anniversary reissue, Pitchfork wrote that "Tribe's music needs no updating, even when it sticks out like a sore thumb, because that's exactly what it did in 1990." How do you interpret that? A lot of people have said that they'd be considered "corny" if they released today, why would that be that a bad thing?
  • 30 years later, have the lyrics stood the test of time? What about the beats?
  • Where does Travels fall in your Tribe rankings?
submitted by adamjm99 to hiphopheads