Ruby Hornet Ruby Hornet Close
Music / Editorials

Q-Tip ‘The Abstract’ – We never deserved him

Q-tip a tribe called quest

A Tribe Called Quest is arguably the waviest rap group of ’80s-2000s, which is no small feat. Phife, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed melded their collective talents into an art form that was revolutionary and unprecedented. 80’s and early 90’s hip hop artists were in some respects a monolith. The attitude was brash, aggressive, and even flamboyant to a certain extent. None of these things are negatives when it comes to rap, but this landscape beckoned for someone to go against the grain.

A Tribe Called Quest, as a group, challenges this status quo seemingly head on. The stylistic sound observable in acts such as NWA, 2Pac, LL Cool J, etc… now share an arena with something much different. Tribe made it cool to be mellow. We’re talking about a group who just wants to know if they can kick it or not. Phife, Ali Shaheed, and even Jarobi were all necessary for this to happen. Still, Q-Tip cements himself as the sole master of laid back flows

At the root of it I’d imagine it comes down to personality and perception. Surely the nature of one’s own self coupled with how they perceive the world must play into their artistic output. Whatever the cause may be, Q-Tip’s demeanor and cadence while rapping is one of the most mellow and unique to ever grace a mic. The thing of it is, it’s not merely his flow and delivery, but also his content.

Q-Tip raps about seemingly whatever he wants to. It just so turns out to be individuality, spirituality, existentialism, and a swath of other introspective and cognitive pursuits. When you pair these subjects with one of the nicest people on a mic ever, the result is legendary.

He was, and is, the emcee we need, but don’t deserve. His raps convey that despite the things he could prove, he knows deep down that he doesn’t really have to. He does what he does genuinely for the love of it. Aside from his production efforts, which are iconic and substantial in their own right, Q-Tip’s communicative powers really shine through most proficiently while rapping.

A Tribe Called Quest as a whole exhibits all of these same qualities. The chill wave can be observed most genuinely through Q-Tip, though. It’s certainly true that many people are drawn to hip hop for it’s flashy, aggressive influences. With that said, there’s something to be said about making rap equally entertaining without all of that. As hard as it is to compare A Tribe Called Quest to any other rap acts, its even more difficult to compare anyone to Q-Tip individually. As appreciated as Q-Tip is, he is still under-appreciated for his contributions to the rap zeitgeist, and I contend still – we’re not worthy.

Peep more Tribe Called Quest content here on Ruby Hornet.

Comments

STAY UPDATED

* mandatory field

THANK YOU!

Close

STAY UPDATED

Get updates delivered right to your inbox. We promise not to spam.

* mandatory field

THANK YOU!