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A Tribe Called Quest Biography

A Tribe Called Quest Biography

Q-Tip and Phife were childhood friends and had grown up together in St. Albans, Queens. The pair first met Muhammad in Murray Bergtraum High School. Initially, Q-Tip had been performing as a solo artist (MC Love Child), occasionally teaming up with Muhammad as a rapper/DJ duo. Although the pair frequently made demos with Phife (as Crush Connection), the sports enthusiast was still courting ambitions of playing professional basketball, and remained somewhat reluctant to become a full member of the group, only later relenting after Jarobi also joined, thus making the group a quartet. The group's final name was coined in 1988 by the Jungle Brothers, who attended the same high school as Tribe. Q-Tip made two separate appearances on the Jungle Brothers' classic debut album, Straight Out the Jungle; the songs "Black Is Black" and "In Time", respectively. Afrika Baby Bam of the group introduced Q-Tip to De La Soul when he took the aspiring artist along to a studio session for the recording of the remix for the group's song "Buddy". Produced by Prince Paul, the remix of "Buddy" was to be an all-round Native Tongue affair, and the eccentric producer encouraged Q-Tip to contribute to the now-classic record.

Q-Tip and Phife were childhood friends and had grown up together in St. Albans, Queens. The pair first met Muhammad in Murray Bergtraum High School. Initially, Q-Tip had been performing as a solo artist (MC Love Child), occasionally teaming up with Muhammad as a rapper/DJ duo. Although the pair frequently made demos with Phife (as Crush Connection), the sports enthusiast was still courting ambitions of playing professional basketball, and remained somewhat reluctant to become a full member of the group, only later relenting after Jarobi also joined, thus making the group a quartet. The group's final name was coined in 1988 by the Jungle Brothers, who attended the same high school as Tribe. Q-Tip made two separate appearances on the Jungle Brothers' classic debut album, Straight Out the Jungle; the songs "Black Is Black" and "In Time", respectively. Afrika Baby Bam of the group introduced Q-Tip to De La Soul when he took the aspiring artist along to a studio session for the recording of the remix for the group's song "Buddy". Produced by Prince Paul, the remix of "Buddy" was to be an all-round Native Tongue affair, and the eccentric producer encouraged Q-Tip to contribute to the now-classic record.

Around this time, thanks to Q-Tip's distinctive vocal style and creative rhymes as a guest artist, Tribe began to generate a lot of interest amongst record label talent scouts. In early 1989 they signed a demo deal with Geffen Records and produced a five song demo which included such Tribe classics as "Description Of A Fool", "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" and "Can I Kick It?". Geffen however, decided against offering the group a full-fledged recording contract and the group was granted permission to shop for a deal elsewhere while retaining the Geffen financed songs.

After receiving lucrative offers for multi-album deals from a variety of labels both big and small, the group showed early savvy in opting for a modest deal offered by Jive Records, then known as an independent rap label that specialized in and owed its success to building careers of artists like Boogie Down Productions and Too Short, and for placing emphasis on longevity, and paying attention to grass-roots fan bases.


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