Keep It Rollin'
A Tribe Called Quest Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Ayo, swing swing swing, to chop chop chop
Yo that's the sound when MC's get mopped
Don't come around town without the hip in your hop
'Cause when the shit hits the fan, that ass'll get dropped
Mc's want to attack me but them punks can't cope
I'll have you left without a job, like Isley from The Love Boat
So money watch your mouth, or I might have to bust ya
Battling MC's, from JFK to Russia
Back down to London, Sweden and Brazil
Do a U.S. Tour for three months and then I chill
Styles be fat like Jackie Gleason, the rest be Art Carney
People love the Dawg like the kids love Barney
"I love you, you love me"
The shorty Phife Dawg is your favorite MC
So move back yourself dread, you know the element
The Tribe is good for your health like a can of Nutriment
Mc's don't have no winds, MC's don't have no winds
I flips you crazier than a busload of Jerry's Kids
Your crew don't want it and your crew don't want it
But if you feel you can swing it, then money please bring it
(Wassup?) Large Professor in the house (wassup?)
(Wassup?) You know how we do (wassup?)
(Wassup?) I stay on your crew (wassup?)
(Wassup?) like Mario Lemieux (wassup?)
(Wassup?) Peace to Ike Love
(Wassup?? Hah hah) and the rest of the crew (wassup?)
(Wassup?) I meet you guys in front the cleaners
Bring the blunts and the brew so

Whassup kids? The Ab is speaking from the moon
Thanks for your support, ayo, I'll be home soon
But the only thing I ask when I return from my task
Is a whole bunch of beats and a flask full of ass
My fist stands firm because I'm, black and solid
I open up your pores like a plate full of collards
C'mon take it easy would'ya? Easy easy
I'm up in the gulley, that's when I am her Buddy
She told me pull her hair, I did, it drove her nutty
Filled up the hole like spackle or I mean putty
When we over joints like this we never cruddy
Extra P hooked the beat, and kids it feels lovely
Check it out, cause my conception is immaculate
A bachelor, looking for a bachelorette
Back to you MC's, this is what you're gonna get
A first degree burn from my man Ken's cigarette
I hope you like Malboro, Paul, you know we thorough like Denver
The beat feels like a never-ender
But all things good must, so I won't sweat it
Drop the seeds for the youthful crew, I hope you get it
As I stand, grip this mic inside my hand
Boy I smack you up, like I was your old grand
So respect yourself Son, and come and gimme love
Once again the Ab is who you think of
So chill with the beef money, we got a Jetti

It's Extra P and yo Tip, I'm 'bout to set it
On the country once again here to win
I'm Uptown chilling, taking in this grand master Vic blend
From the projects, the PJ's, fuck them two DJ's
Self mission, I had her in the ill position
Saying "Large you's a soul brother that I'd like to
Eff with for the rest of my life" yeah yeah now check the method
As I, proceed with what you need like Akinyele
A whip looks complete when the tires say Pirelli
Funk monkey, one rapper fell off, now he's a junkie
There's 8 Million Stories in the city it's a pity
Don't fuck with the skins if she's trying to act shitty
Shout to the Guru, Primo and Zulu Zulu
Nation, was on a vacation, in the ghetto
Yo Ras, slow your roll I'm bout to bag this here s'metal




Rapper Nas on topic, seems we gonna rock it
Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it (drop it)

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to A Tribe Called Quest's "Keep It Rollin'" are packed with references to MC battles, slang, and pop culture. The opening lines refer to the sound of MCs getting "mopped" or beaten in a freestyle battle, and emphasizes the importance of having hip-hop in one's style. The rest of the song continues with Phife Dawg and Q-Tip trading verses, boasting about their skills and popularity around the world. Phife emphasizes his short stature but big talent, while Q-Tip addresses racism and appeals for respect. The chorus, "MC's don't have no winds," seems to signify that others can't keep up with their talent and energy.


The song features production from the legendary Large Professor, who also contributes a verse towards the end. "Keep It Rollin'" appeared on A Tribe Called Quest's third album, "Midnight Marauders," which is considered a classic of hip-hop's golden age. The album features contributions from several other notable producers, including Pete Rock, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Q-Tip himself. The album's cover famously features a grid of iconic hip-hop album covers, with "Midnight Marauders" inserted into the mix.


Overall, "Keep It Rollin'" is a classic example of A Tribe Called Quest's laid-back but complex style, combining memorable hooks with intricate rhymes and subtle social commentary. The group's influence on hip-hop and music in general cannot be overstated, as they helped shape the sound and style of an entire generation.


Line by Line Meaning

Hey yo swing swing swing, to chop chop chop
Let's get this music going by making rhythm with chopping sound effects.


Yo that's the sound when MC's get mopped
That's the sound when inferior MCs fall by the wayside.


Don't come around town without the hip in your hop
You better not show up without some cool rhymes and style.


Cause when the shit hits the fan, that ass'll get dropped
When it hits the fan, you'll be the one out of luck.


MC's want to attack me but them punks can't cope
People would try to challenge me, but they can't keep up.


I'll have you left without a job, like Isley from The Love Boat
I'll have you out of a job with nothing left to do.


So money watch your mouth, or I might have to bust ya
Watch your mouth or else you'll get chastised.


Battling MC's, from JFK to Russia
I go around battling the MCs from JFK to Russia.


Back down to London, Sweden and Brazil
I travel to London, Sweden, and Brazil.


Do a U.S. tour for three months and then a chill
I go on a tour around the United States and then take a break.


Styles be fat like Jackie Gleason, the rest be Art Carney
My style is swinging and popular, while others are mediocre.


People love the Dawg like the kids love Barney
People love me like kids love Barney, the purple dinosaur.


"I love you, you love me"
This is the catchphrase from Barney.


The shorty Phife Dawg is your favorite MC
People find me to be their favorite MC.


So move back yaself dread, you know the element
Back away, because you know what's coming next.


The Tribe is good for your health like a can of Nutriment
Our music is nourishing and healthy, just like Nutriment.


MC's don't have no winds, MC's don't have no winds
Other MCs don't have the same stamina and endurance that I have.


I flips you crazier than a busload of Jerry's Kids
I'll drive you more insane than a whole bunch of kids on a bus.


Your crew don't want it, man your crew don't want it
Your crew can't handle it, they don't want to compete.


But if you feel you can swing it, then money please bring it
If you think you can compete, then bring it on.


(sup) Large Professor in the house (sup)
Large Professor is in the house and everyone is greeting him.


(sup) You know how we do (sup)
Everyone knows the way we perform and how we do it.


(sup) I stay on your crew (sup)
I'm always part of your crew.


(whats up) like Mario Lemieux (whats up)
I'm up and ready to go like the famous ice hockey player, Mario Lemieux.


(Whats up?) Peace to Ike Love
Let's give a shout-out to Ike Love.


(Sup? Hah hah) and the rest of the crew (Whats up?)
Everyone else in the crew is also acknowledged.


(Whats up?) I meet you guys in front the cleaners
Let's all meet in front of the cleaners at some point.


Bring the blunts and the brew so
Bring the drugs and alcohol, because we're going to party.


Whassup kids? The Ab is speaking from the moon
Hey, what's up guys? I'm speaking to you from the moon.


Thanks for your support, hey yo I'll be home soon
Thanks for your support everyone, I'll be back soon.


But the only thing I ask when I return from my task
When I come back, I have one request.


Is a whole bunch of beats and a Blass full of ass
I want a lot of music beats and a woman's behind waiting for me.


My fist stands firm because I'm, black and solid
I'm firm and unwavering because I'm black and confident.


I open up your pores like a plate full of collards
I'll get you excited and feeling good like when you eat collard greens.


C'mon take it easy wouldya, easy easy
Relax, don't get too worked up, take it easy.


I'm up in the gulley, that's when I am her Buddy
I'm in the streets, and that's when I become intimate with my girl.


She told me pull her hair, I did, it drove her nutty
She asked me to pull her hair, and when I did, she went wild.


Filled up the hole like spackle or I mean putty
I satisfied the cravings of my girl.


When we over joints like this we never cruddy
With music like this, our experience is never mediocre.


Extra P hooked the beat, and kids it feels lovely
Extra P made this beat, and it sounds great.


Check it out, cause my conception is immaculate
Look at how amazing I am and how perfectly I perform.


A bachelor, looking for a bachelorette
I'm single and searching for a woman.


Back to you MC's, this is what your gonna get
This is what other MCs will receive from me.


A first degree burn from my man Ken's cigarette
You will receive a burn from Ken's cigarette, which is the least of your worries.


I hope you like Malboro, Paul you know we thorough like Denver
I hope you don't mind smoking Marlboro cigarettes, we're as sincere as people from Denver.


The beat feels like a never-ender
This beat continues on and on, never ending.


But all things good must, so I won't sweat it
All great things must come to an end, so I won't worry about it.


Drop the see's for the youthful crew, I hope you get it
I'm dropping knowledge for the young people, and I hope they understand it.


As I stand, grip this mic inside my hand
I'm standing here holding the microphone in my hand.


Boy I smack you up, like I was your old grand
I'll smack you to teach you a lesson, as if I were your grandfather.


So respect yourself Son, and come and gimme love
You need to show me respect and appreciation.


Once again the Ab is who you think of
I'm who you think of when you hear great music.


So chill with the beef money, we got a Jetti
Stop fighting and causing issues, we have a private jet.


It's Extra P and yo Tip I'm bout to set it
It's Extra P and I, and we're about to start this performance.


On the country once again here to win
We're out here in the country once again, ready to win over the audience.


I'm Uptown chilling, taking in this grand master Vic blend
I'm relaxing in Uptown, enjoying this grand master Vic's music blend.


From the projects, the PJ's, fuck them two DJ's
From the projects, the PJ's, we don't care about those other two DJs.


Self mission, I had her in the ill position
I took it upon myself, getting her in a great position.


Saying "Large you'se the soul brother that I'd like to
She tells me that I'm the perfect soul brother for her.


Eff with for the rest of my life" yeah yeah now check the method
She wants to be with me for the rest of her life, which is impressive.


As I, proceed with what you need like Akinyele
As I move forward, let me give you exactly what you need, like Akinyele.


A whip looks complete when the tires say Firelli
A car looks good when it has Firelli tires on it.


Funk monkey, one rapper fell off, now he's a junkie
This funk reminds me that one rapper went down the wrong path and became a drug addict.


There's 8 Million Stories in the city it's a pity
There are a lot of stories to be told in the city, it's just a shame.


Don't fuck with the skins if she's trying to act shitty
Don't mess with a girl if she's being unpleasant.


Shout to the Guru, Primo and Zulu Zulu
Let's make a shout-out to Guru, Primo and Zulu Nation.


Nation, was on a vacation, in the ghetto
Nation was on a break, enjoying the ghetto.


Yo Ras slow your roll I'm bout to bag this here's metal
Hang on a minute, let me deal with this metal over here.


Rapper Nas on topic, seems we gonna rock it
Nas is the topic today and we're going to play his music.


Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it (drop it)
Queens, get ready to represent and buy my album when it comes out.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: John E Davis, Paul Mitchell, Ali Shaheed Muhammed, Malik Izaak Taylor

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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