In a 2007 interview with The Village Voice, Kamaal Ibn John Fareed -- or as Africa Baby Bam of the Jungle Brothers originally anointed him, Q-Tip -- states aptly that, “We’re a nation of people who have short attention spans and don’t necessarily read the whole book; we make it through the first couple of chapters and fall asleep and forget about it.”
It’s an eloquent summation, really; as succinct and easily relatable as any of the illimitable hymns he’s bestowed upon Hip-Hop since his 1988 entrance on the JB’s “The Promo.” Not only is it honest, but it captures the most primary bi-product of our pop-centric, hyper-technological society the way A Tribe Called Quest captured rap’s Golden Era duality to both entertain and educate.
That’s why -- twenty-one years after the iconic squad’s debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels And The Path’s of Rhythm -- Tribe is still revered by everyone from your momma to Obama: because they made dope songs that blended jazz and be-bop and Hip-Hop with a message and undeniable melody that always...always rocked the party.
“Do dat do dat do do dat dat dat”
And Tip just may be the coolest frontman in history, up there with Jagger and Hendrix. Cross-generational-type cool. Make a pair of New Balance look revolutionary-type cool. Put people on-type cool.
He introduced the world to the legendary J. Dilla when he enlisted him into his mid-90s production team, The Ummah. Busta Rhyme’s verse on “Scenario” (and accompanying uber-classic Arsenio Hall Show performance) elevated the Dungeon Dragon’s then bourgeoning career to “Woo Haa!” levels and beyond. Arguably every “conscious” rapper alive sites Tribe as a major influence. Rah Digga says Q-Tip saved her life.
A Tribe Called Quest’s illustrious catalog and what seemed like an all-too-soon disbanding resonates so deeply, so broadly for so many that it ironically undermines what’s still one of the most storied, individual resumes in Hip-Hop history. We love those first few chapters of Q-Tip’s career so much that -- like he states in that 2007 Village Voice interview -- we often forget about the rest of the book.
We forget that The Abstract produced every track on People’s Instinctive Travels, The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders except “Show Business,” “Everything Is Fair,” “8 Million Stories” and “Keep It Rollin” -- depending on how you feel about his remaking of what was originally Pete Rock’s beat for “We Got The Jazz.” And that that same prolific production genius extends to the Jungle Brothers’ Black Is Black, Nas’ Illmatic, Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, Craig Mack, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Kanye West and soon enough (with the upcoming release of Watch The Throne) Jay-Z; influencing generations and just about anything neo-soul related.
We forget that Kamaal The Abstract (recorded in 2001) actually beat The Love Below (released in 2003) to the genre-bending punch, even though none of the four major-labels he was signed to during his nine-year hiatus believed in his vision enough to release the project. And that his triumphant return with The Renaissance in 2008 is the personification of creative resiliency.
We forget about collaborations with The Beastie Boys and Bun B and the Soulquarians and The Black Eyed Peas and Mark Ronson and The Roots and Raphael Saadiq and D’Angelo and Norah Jones and every sect of the Native Tongues. We forget about collaborations might’ve been like The Standard with Common and The Fabulous Fleas with Posdnuos, Africa Baby Bam and Ju Ju (of the Beatnuts).
We forget those things. A few we never knew.
Q-Tip’s two-decades plus emphasis on artistic integrity and sonic progression along with his cross-generational legacy falls in line with everything Brooklyn Bodega supports through it’s mission statement; everything Brooklyn Bodega is fundamentally about. In the truest sense he is an ambassador for Hip-Hop, consistently pushing The Culture past predefined margins through collaborations across audial boundaries.
He’s the luminary's luminary.
Honestly, having him rock the 7th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is an easier than easy decision. It’s really a no-brainer.
But who would Brooklyn Bodega be if we settled for the obvious? How could we be satisfied with the easy decision and still uphold our laser-aimed focus on freshness?
So we pushed the margins to the brink of breach.
BHF11 is ten-months pregnant with possibilities because Q-Tip isn’t just headlining. He’s curating, partnering with the Bodega Family in assembling an all-world, one-time only performance featuring surprise appearances from every corner of his legendary catalog!
Call it: Q-Tip & Friends -- A Celebration of Hip-Hop Through The Lense of An Iconoclast
And everything’s on the table.
PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE 2011 BROOKLYN HIP-HOP FESTIVAL