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Q-Tip

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  • Born: Brooklyn, NY
  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

The longtime MC with pioneering alternative hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest, rapper Q-Tip was born Jonathan Davis in New York City on November 20, 1970. While a student at the Murray Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, he co-founded A Tribe Called Quest with fellow students Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife (Malik Taylor) in 1988. The following year, Q-Tip guested on De La Soul's groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising LP, with the two groups forever linked through their association with the Native Tongues collective. Tribe's debut single, "Description of a Fool," appeared in the summer of 1989, and after signing to Jive Records, the trio issued its debut LP, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, a year later. With its fiercely intelligent, socially progressive lyrics and brilliant fusion of rap and jazz, the group emerged as one of the most popular and influential in all of hip-hop, producing such classic LPs as 1991's The Low End Theory and 1993's Midnight Marauders before disbanding in 1998. Q-Tip then mounted a solo career with the 1999 release of Amplified. Although it was successful, he was in label limbo for many years afterward, continuing to record but rarely able to release any of his output. (One album, Kamaal the Abstract, was ready to roll into stores in 2002 when it was halted; it was finally released by Jive in 2009.) His sophomore set finally appeared in late 2008 and earned its title, The Renaissance.

eMusic Features

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Band Aid

By Hua Hsu, Contributor

On September 7th, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, all but closed the book on sampling in hip-hop. A three-judge panel ruled that recent federal laws pertaining to the piracy of digital recordings also apply to the recycling of old songs by producers. Deviating from previous agreements that set up limits and tests for "legal" usages, the new decision aims to tighten the clamps on all lengths and types of samples, from entire riffs… more »

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Icon: A Tribe Called Quest

By Jeff Chang, Contributor

If fellow travelers De La Soul were the giddy braniacs and the Jungle Brothers the funky eccentrics, A Tribe Called Quest were the artful romantics of the vanguard Native Tongues hip-hop crew in the mid-'90s. They shared their peers 'taste for conceptually rich work but, unlike De La, they preferred minimalism and, unlike the JB's, they proffered a sound that enfolded the listener (props due to shadow Quest member/studio wizard Bob Power). Because of that,… more »

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Icon: A Tribe Called Quest

By Jeff Chang, Contributor

If fellow travelers De La Soul were the giddy braniacs and the Jungle Brothers the funky eccentrics, A Tribe Called Quest were the artful romantics of the vanguard Native Tongues hip-hop crew in the mid-'90s. They shared their peers 'taste for conceptually rich work but, unlike De La, they preferred minimalism and, unlike the JB's, they proffered a sound that enfolded the listener (props due to shadow Quest member/studio wizard Bob Power). Because of that,… more »

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Hey Ma: Maureen Yancey Remembers Her Son, J Dilla

By Hua Hsu, Contributor

There's a disarming effervescence to Maureen Yancey as she shares memories of her late son, the Detroit producer and rapper J. Dilla. It has been over three years since Dilla passed away from complications related to lupus, yet she speaks of him as though he were still a constant source of amusement and inspiration. When asked if Dilla ever tried her seemingly infinite patience, she laughs: "Of course he made me very mad. For a… more »