This song finds the group rapping about their struggles and rise to rap superiority. There's plenty of boasting, but although Beats, Rhymes, and Life was recorded during the height of the polarizing East Coast vs. West Coast rap feuds of the 1990s, singles like "1nce Again" and "Keep It Moving" stayed away from taking sides as A Tribe Called Quest considered themselves cool with both coasts.
The R&B singer Tammy Lucas is featured on this song. She has also worked with the group's arch enemy Wreckx-N-Effect. In the mid-90's, members of Wreckx-N-Effect notoriously beat up rapper Q-Tip after taking exception to lyrics in the ATCQ song "Jazz (We've Got)."
"1nce Again" was the first A Tribe Called Quest single to feature co-production from the late Jay Dee. Also known as J Dilla, the producer is best known for his work with other influential rap artists like De La Soul, Common, Ghostface Killah, and Busta Rhymes.
This song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1997, but lost the award to the tremendously popular song "Tha Crossroads
" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
The group is on the run from the police in the Hype Williams-directed video, where they hideout in a cleaner's store. The clip features a cameo appearance from Busta Rhymes.