Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Q-Tip Ft. Norah Jones

New vid from the Renaissance album...

Here's a bit from the interview I did with Tip in the Guardian last year...


After nine years, the man behind Tribe Called Quest is back. With hip hop ready for a renaissance, it looks like Q-Tip is right on time, says Hattie Collins.

“Oprah and ‘em they criticise the boys/ Without empathy, they lose all of their poise…” For a hip hop geek, it’s quite a big deal to have Jonathan ‘Q-Tip’ Davis recite lyrics from a new track, in person, just for you. That nasal tinged, stoned-soaked flow is one of the most distinctive deliveries in hip hop; instantly recognisable, it has the ability to transport you right back to the days of double maths and getting out of gym.

It was this idiosyncratic intonation that chatted up Bonita Applebum on Tribe Called Quest’s 1990 debut People’s Instinctive Travels And Paths Of Rhythm. Elsewhere on that record, the Ham and Eggs hating vegetarian, along with Tribe cohorts Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammed, Left his Wallet somewhere in El Segundo, shortly before wondering whether we could Kick It (yes, we could, ta). The album, alongside De La Soul’s 1989 offering, 3 Feet High and Rising, ushered in a new era of hip hoppers known as the Native Tongues Posse. Boasting jazz-based samples and Afrocentric ideologies, the likes of Quest, De La, Queen Latifah and the Jungle Brothers, were utterly unlike the hard-hitting beats and one-track minded metaphors of contemporaries like the Beastie Boys, NWA and Public Enemy. But while Tribe weren’t gangsta, gangsta, nor entirely fighting the power, they weren’t hip hop hippies either. They liked girls, but they were down with the cause. They celebrated the spoils of the American dream, yet never forgot their African roots.

“It’s been pretty much a cool existence to be in Tribe. I think one of the staying factors of Tribe is because, along with De La Soul, we were like ‘It’s cool to be you,’” decides Q-Tip today of rap’s long-lasting love affair with Quest. Indeed, it was the trio’s ability to be the sum of many parts that was key to their success. They could do P.E. style political, be as funny as the Beasties or as surreal as De La without sounding, or looking, like any of them.

Read the whole interview HERE

1 comment:

Holly Howe said...

The Guardian link doesn't work - should be this:

But your writing is so good that I felt compelled to go to the trouble to search for the article...x