For our first Flash Forward Friday we want to honor Q–Tip aka The Abstract Poet, MC Love Child, who’s been a Hip Hop pioneer for over 30 years and recently celebrated his 45th birthday on April 10th.
In 1985 Tip and his High school friends Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mahommed and Jarobi White came together to form A Tribe Called Quest, one of the greatest Hip-Hop groups of all time. The group was given its name by fellow native tongues members Jungle Brothers in 1988 two years later they dropped their first of album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. With the abstract handling not only emcee duties with his abstract flow but the majority of the albums production he was able to give the group a unique jazzy vibe which helped make a Tribe Called Quest a Hip Hop staple for years to come.
As a Tribe Called Quest accolades continued to grow which included 2 Grammy nominees for Hip Hop album of the year Q–Tip‘s influence was also able to flourish. Producing for artists like Nas, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Whitney Houston, Mary J Blige, D’Angelo and much more allowed him to revolutionize how Hip Hop was heard but in 1994 while touring for the album he was able to meet a producer/emcee named J Dilla. The two quickly became frequent collaborators and worked together to produce the last two A Tribe Called Quest albums and continued their partnership into QTip‘s solo career.
In 1999, Q–Tip released Amplified, his first solo album which evolved his signature neo-soul sound into a funkier upbeat album that gave him another Grammy Nomination. His following album Kamaal The Abstract was originally shelved because of a perceived lack of marketability but was eventually leaked in 2002 and properly released in 2009 one year after his 3rd solo album The Renaissance. With every album release, MC Love was not only able to ride every beat with his soulful vocals but he also produced the vast majority of records as well.
Since the turn of the century, he’s been able to collaborate with some of the most esteemed artists in Hip Hop including Kanye West, Wale, Jay-Z, Jon Legend, The Game and more while he’s been able to push himself artistically outside of music as well. Acting in films such as Holly Rollers and Brown Sugar has given Tip the opportunity to express himself as an artist outside of music.
Since the turn of the century, he’s been able to with not only some of the most esteemed artists in Hip Hop including Kanye West, Wale, Jay-Z, John Legend, The Game and much more but he’s also been able to flex his muscle of music production as well. Tip has been able to shine behind the camera working in movies such as Brown Sugar, Holy Records, and even writing the script for Prison Song which focuses on an artistic 10-year-old boy being brought up in group homes in New York. More recently MC Love has been touring showing off his skills on the 1’s and 2’s and last year he started Abstract Radio which streams from Apple Music. He was recently was Grammy nomination for the Best Dance Recording with his collaboration with the Chemical Brothers and in March of this year, the abstract poet became the Kennedy Center’s first artistic director for the Hip Hop culture.
Fans of Q–Tip who have been waiting for new original music from the abstract lover should also be also be excited by the news that he plans to release the upcoming album “The Last Zulu” which as described by Tip sounds like the darker twin of A Tribe Called Quests signature sound.
About the Author
I'm a DJ / Producer hailing from San Francisco who's fallen head over heels for H.E.R. and loves giving back to the culture.