Rembert Explains the ’90s: A Tribe Called Quest, ‘Scenario’

Welcome to our new series, Rembert Explains the ’90s. Unlike the source material for our previous, ’80s-themed series, these videos have been seen countless times, with the result being an unparalleled, almost embarrassing level of expertise. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching the video, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by Grantland editor Mark Lisanti: “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest (1992). If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’90s, e-mail us at hollywood@grantland.com.

0:03 This is one of my earliest meta-technological memories.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.00.49 PM

Watching a television that was showing some sort of future-computer music video game program. I couldn’t handle that. Barely can now.

0:24 Another first:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.03.10 PM

This shot was most certainly my introduction into browser tabs. Also: hello there, Busta.

0:28 Unrelated to the video, but few songs start stronger than:

Bo knows this (what)
Bo knows that (what)
Bo don’t know jack
‘Cause Bo can’t rap.

Too good, Phife.

0:36 Zoomed in:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.16.30 PM

ZOOMED OUT.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.16.59 PM

This video was the inspiration for GarageBand, Photoshop, and Minority Report. So important.

0:42 THIS

It’s easy to become mesmerized by the rapidly changing faces, but every now and then a quick pause shows a familiar face. Like this guy:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.25.47 PM

Hi Redman.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.27.29 PM

Hey Spike.

0:50 Also, in that quick clip, the ’90s headwear is impeccable.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.31.24 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.30.40 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.30.22 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.30.10 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.29.56 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.29.10 PM

0:52 Fashion show 1: Phife Dawg.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.34.54 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.35.52 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.35.43 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.35.33 PM

And he still hasn’t made the old-school Taco Bell reference yet. 1:03 “HEAD FOR THE BORDER, GO GET A TACO.” – PHIFE DAWG

1:07 Alert: Two Minutes Until Busta.

1:14 I can’t stress enough how much the centerpiece of this video is the organization, minimization, and prioritization of computer windows. Case in point:

“WHO’S THAT?”

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.44.37 PM

“BROWNNNNNNN.”

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.45.02 PM

Also, again, hello there Spike.

1:31 There’s just so much going on. Look at all those knobs and letters and numbers and acronyms.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.47.12 PM

I’m trying to think of a more technologically complex rap video, but I can’t think of one, because there isn’t one.

1:37 Classic geography lesson.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.50.15 PM

Also, it’s worth admitting during this scene, for a third time I forgot this was a music video and attempted to click on one of the tabs (“Comp”) in hopes that it would take me to another screen. But that’s just not how it works.

1:43 NEGATIVE REDMAN.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.53.47 PM

Studying and attempting to re-create the “Scenario” video should be a prerequisite at every art school in America.

1:44 “AND WOW HOW NOW WOW HOW NOW BROWN COW.” – CHARLIE BROWN

1:51 In addition to being the legendary posse cut, it’s also a classic video in the genre, “20-plus people in the background, just kicking it.”

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 2.57.54 PM

One of our best genres.

2:01 In case you were wondering if Dinco D said “rates more than four,” thankfully we have the video to provide us with inarguable proof of the lyrics:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.00.54 PM

Four fingers and a vertical rating scale of four with “more” above it. So yes, that’s exactly what Dinco D said.

2:05 Fashion show 2: LADIES.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.02.13 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.02.29 PMScreen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.02.03 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.01.56 PM

LowEnd Theory lady is the runaway winner. Sorry, other “real” ladies.

2:07 Alert: One minute until Busta’s full, uninterrupted verse.

2:27 Hey, Spike.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.09.17 PM

2:32 In case you forgot, “Scenario” is brought to you by Leader Quest.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.12.05 PM

This is a reference to A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School, and later, an organization dedicated to IT training and management solutions.

Obviously.

2:34 They really should have made “Auto Ali” action figures.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.13.36 PM

I would have thrown away all those Power Rangers in a heartbeat.

2:49 Legends, before they were legends.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.15.04 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.15.12 PM

2:55 Three tabs are now open, with priority, appropriately, going to the Earth.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.16.42 PM

It’s startling how much of my current laptop activity mirrors a music video that came out 21 years ago.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 4.02.55 PM

2:58 “YOU KNOW I DID IT” – Q-Tip

3:00 What happens for the next few seconds, during “TipSync,” with the “flow” and “track” bars and them being aligned until Tip stops rapping but the track continues, and the error red dot — it’s simply one of the more genius, seemingly throwaway additions to a music video I’ve ever seen.

In a video full of clever, smart inclusions, that’s perhaps the best one.

3:07 It’s time.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.25.20 PM

One of the best rap verses. Ever.

3:15 Ignore that previous posse scene, this is the ultimate:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.27.06 PM

3:17 Busta has to be disappointed that 20 years have gone by, and we still haven’t figured out how to make movable text, stone, and checked long-sleeve shirts.

I know I am.

3:37 “RAAAARR RAAAAAR LIKE A DUNGEON DRAGON” – BUSTA RYHMES

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.31.08 PM

3:41 I was always a little bummed, once we made it to the Busta “Place” level.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.33.08 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.34.29 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.34.23 PM

I love urbania, suburbia, and outer space as much as the next guy, but we never got to see Busta in Serbia. It just seems like a missed opportunity. For Serbia.

3:54 BUSTASYNC.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.36.11 PM

4:02 There’s no better way to close it out, than with a little censored profanity.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.37.00 PM

Whenever rappers are about to curse, they should just maximize their censor-autotune window and bring it up to the middle of the screen and then when they’re done swearing, just simply minimize it. How hard is that, Tyga?

4:21 Fin.

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 3.38.47 PM

This video will hold up. Forever.

Filed Under: Music Videos, Rembert Explains

rembert_headshot3

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert

More from Rembert Browne

See all from Rembert Browne

More Music Videos

See all Music Videos

More Hollywood Prospectus

See all Hollywood Prospectus