A Tribe Called Quest is an American hip-hop collective, formed in Queens, New York in 1985. The four founding members of the group were Q-Tip (Jonathan Davis), Phife Dawg (Malik Taylor), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White. The group was formed in response to the electro-rap sound of the early â€˜80s and quickly established a reputation for themselves as an innovator in the use of African and Far Eastern musical instruments.
A Tribe Called Quest was originally formed by high school classmates Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. They made their first few recordings together which led to the signing of a record deal with former pop star Jive Records. It was here that they released their classic debut album Peopleâ€™s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm in 1990. The album was a critical and commercial success which spawned the hit singles â€œBonita Applebumâ€ and â€œCan I Kick It?â€.
The groupâ€™s second album The Low End Theory, released in 1991, was an even bigger success, featuring the singles â€œCheck the Rhimeâ€, â€œScenarioâ€, and â€œJazz (Weâ€™ve Got)â€. They cemented their place as one of the most important hip-hop acts of the â€˜90s while broadening the genre's appeal.
In 1993, the group released its third record Midnight Marauders, an album which had a softer, more laid back feel than The Low End Theory. This proved to be yet another commercial success and showcased their growing range of instrumental influences. The 1994 follow-up Beats, Rhymes and Life added topics such as jailtime, drug use, and street violence into the mix. Despite its critical acclaim, movie soundtracks and EPs did not hinder the group's reputation as a paramount in innovation.
The following year, Q-Tip released his first solo album Amplified, which showed a different side of him as an artist and producer. The album was well-received, as was subsequent solo efforts from each of the other members. A Tribe Called Quest also released The Love Movement, the group's fifth and final studio album in 1998.
The members of A Tribe Called Quest have since built successful solo careers across the music, television, and film industries after disbanding as a group in 1998. In addition to their music, the groupâ€™s influence can be felt in the fashion and entrepreneurial interests by each member and their awareness raising social outreach activities.
Throughout its achievements, A Tribe Called Quest has provided a productive, optimistic, and militant wedge between the then polarizing poles of conscious rap and hostile rap. The group was ultimately canonized in acts of ethnicity continuing from their departure up to the present day through tributes in music, festivals, and fan forums countrywide.
To this day, A Tribe Called Quest is highly regarded as one of the most innovative and influential hip hop groups of all time. They have been credited with fundamentally shifting the sound and culture of hip hop with their abstract beats, wordplay, and rhymes. Their inspiring messages of optimism and resilience in the face of adversity carry through to modern times and have set the bar for creativity for generations of emcees, inspiring an abundance of artists to carry the torch of a culture of knowledge, remembrance, and respect.