For any fan true fan of hip-hop music, you have a handful of people to thank for your favorite genre: Run DMC, 2 Live Crew, Public Enemy, and of course A Tribe Called Quest. During its heyday, this quintessential rap collective released eight albums, earned serious Billboard success, and infused hip-hop with a trademark jazzy quirk that would change the game forever.
So when Crossfade got the opportunity to sit down with one of the crew's founding members, Q-Tip, we asked him anything and everything that flooded our mind.
New Times: The last time we saw you in Miami you were sitting at a table full of girls in the club. Glad to be back?
Q-Tip: Um, yes. Of course. I'm a big fan. I love Miami.
Do you get in trouble while you're here?
Well, if I get into trouble while I'm here, it's with her. (He points to girl in a barely there black dress.) I kid. I just love Miami. The weather, obviously.
We know you're working with Jay-Z and Kanye West. How's the collaboration going?
Kanye is a very talented dude. I'm very happy to be working with him. And I'm happy he fancies my stuff enough to keep working with me. Of course, I'm happy to be working with Jay. A big fan of both.
Do you think Kanye will be able to bounce back from all the VMA drama last year?
I think he is an artist of a different degree, very creative and very passionate. I think it's all entertainment. How seriously can you take all of this? You have to take it with a grain of salt, because it's all for expression and entertainment. Everyone has a degree of quirkiness to them.
Have you ever gotten Jay-Z and Kanye West in the same room? Including yourself, that is some serious rap royalty.
Thank you. Yes, I'm working with Kanye and Jay-Z together. They are doing about five songs together. It's really cooI. I think it will definitely be successful. Just to be around and watch it happen is great
Do you prefer being in front or behind the mic?
I love working. I love creating. I love performing. But I love creating the most.
Who has been you favorite person to work with?
I don't have a favorite. I have worked with so many people. A few people you could say kind of changed my career: John Coltrane, Nas, Prince, Jay, Chaka Kahn. I'm such a music lover. There have been so many people who influenced my music.
Any hopes for A Tribe Called Quest reunion, part two?
Nah, were working on a documentary together with Michael Rapaport. We're going to put that out in 2011.
So you're sticking to your solo stuff?
Just working on a lot of production. My next solo project should be out next year. Common and I are going to do an album together. We're starting a group together. We start in the studio next week. Him and I just rhyming, trying to find a DJ. Should be good.
How was working on the Hennessy Artistry Tour with the Roots? What made you want to be a part of it?
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It was a no-brainer for me to be part of this event. I couldn't pass up working with the Roots. I have known them for a long time. It's a very creative event.
What city are you looking forward to the most?
We just left Chicago. Great city, but it's getting cold. Love being here. I'm just looking forward to the whole project in general. It's a cool concept. It's kind of like a public jam session.
-- Stacey Russell