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Legendary rapper and producer Q-Tip changed the game with his complex lyrics and jazz-fueled beats—both as a solo artist and as a founding member of the seminal Queens hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest.
• Encouraged by his future Tribe cofounder Phife Dawg, Q-Tip began rapping at 9 years old. Three years later, his father’s vast collection of jazz records lured him into the world of sample-based production.
• In 1985, Q-Tip cofounded A Tribe Called Quest, serving as a rapper and the group’s main producer. Tribe released their gold-certified debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, in 1990.
• Five years later, Q-Tip, bandmate Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and the late J Dilla formed a production team called The Ummah, which produced Tribe’s 1996 platinum-certified Beats, Rhymes and Life.
• Tip has guested on two Top 10 singles by other artists: Deee-Lite’s 1990 dance smash “Groove Is in the Heart” and the remix of Missy Elliott’s 1999 hit “Hot Boyz,” which also features Nas and Eve.
• Following Tribe’s disbandment, Q-Tip dropped his debut solo album, Amplified, in 1999. Its Grammy-nominated single “Vivrant Thing” helped the LP go gold.
• His 2010 sophomore album, The Renaissance, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.
• In 2016, Q-Tip became the inaugural artistic director of hip-hop culture at the Kennedy Center and began hosting music showcases, workshops, and community service events.
- New York, NY [Harlem]
- Apr 10, 1970
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