“You on point Tip?
“All the time Phife.”
That chorus from the hip-hop classic, “Check The Rhyme” by A Tribe Called Quest continues to be a cornerstone of hip-hop.
One of the group’s founding MC’s, Q-Tip, also known as Kamaal The Abstract, The Abstract, and by his Islamic name, Kamaal Fareed, is often name-checked by lyricists like Kanye West, Mos Def and Kendrick Lamar. Tip, along with them are applauded for their willingness to step beyond the regular, cliche’ rap lyrics. And honestly, it could be argued that without Tip (echoing what Kanye said in an interview) there would be no College Dropout (Kanye West), no Black On Both Sides (Mos Def), no Illmatic (Nas).
“It’s quite flattering and I appreciate it because I look at them like they’re giants,” says Tip modestly of the praise heaped upon him by hip-hop heavyweights like West, Pharrell and Common. “When they speak my name, it puts me up there and makes me feel good.”
“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,’” shares Q-Tip today of rap’s long-lasting love affair with A Tribe Called Quest.