5 Minutes With Q-Tip

By L. Marie Knight  |  08/07/2008

Q-TipQ-Tip is a legend in hip-hop. His time with Tribe Called Quest has earned him that monarch. However, several years after Tribe initially blew on the hip-hop scene with their brand of jazz influenced rap, Q-Tip is striking out on his own. This will not be the first time the rapper has stepped away from the group, however this will be the first time that Q-Tip is implementing a new strategy to his music -- things like a live band and a more neo-soul sound at times. Ask him will there be another Tribe Called Quest album and Q-Tip will tell you "No." He is however, going to drop his new solo album Renaissance.

BallerStatus.com: In the '90s Tribe Called Quest came with a different sound from what was popular at that time. Were you at all nervous behind the scenes about being accepted?

Q-Tip: No. We were happy with the music. It felt right. That did away with any nervous feelings. We felt confident because it was something we had never heard before.

BallerStatus.com: Tribe also had a creative aspect. What is your opinion about the present status of hip-hop as far as creativity is concerned?

Q-Tip: I feel like it is not too many people who are creative. Everyone is following each other and doing the same thing. It's a drag. People do the same thing because they are afraid of change and they want to stay popular. Everyone wants to be accepted and in the in crowd. No one wants to go outside of that.

BallerStatus.com: What do you think it is about Tribe Called Quest and Q-Tip that has allowed you to stay relevant today?

Q-Tip: Besides God's blessings, is the fact that the music was honest. People related to our story and musical tapestry. It lasted and songs became popular past their time and into today.

BallerStatus.com: You took a break from hip-hop for a while. Did your passion for it fade away?

Q-Tip: I thought that is was really boring. Nothing was inspiring to me.

BallerStatus.com: What's your creative process like now versus the Tribe Called Quest days?

Q-Tip: My creative process is not that different. The only difference would be the types of equipment that I use. It is a process. The type of equipment I use is more of a technical thing now.

BallerStatus.com: Do you think that veterans like yourself get the respect that they deserve?

Q-Tip: Probably not. People think old school doesn't matter. Hip-hop critics, there is an elitisms in a way. Everyone feels that they are more hip-hop than others. Keep it underground and then you are real. You're not really hip-hop because this is something I know about that you don't. The hipster, know it all thing. Is the thing that makes for it to be like that.

BallerStatus.com: You have a legacy in hip-hop now. Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?

Q-Tip: No. I wouldn't change anything at all.

BallerStatus.com: How different is the Renaissance album going to be in comparison to your previous album?

Q-Tip: Different time when I recorded it. That alone is making it totally different.

BallerStatus.com: Who were some of the producers you worked with?

Q-Tip: I produced the album myself. There will be a live band also.

BallerStatus.com: Why did you implement the live band?

Q-Tip: I like the idea of playing with a live band and live musicians. There is nothing like live music to me.

BallerStatus.com: Your solo work is different from the collaborative Tribe work. Did you ever feel pigeon holed or held back when you were with them?

Q-Tip: Nah. It was just a different situation. It wasn't pigeon holed. I just dealt with it.

BallerStatus.com: Who does someone like Q-Tip listen to musically?

Q-Tip: I listen to John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, G. Rap, Gangstarr, Kids In The Hall record is dope. I like Lil Wayne.

BallerStatus.com: What is going to be the first single from the Renaissance album?

Q-Tip: Getting Up is the first single. It is out now. The album is out on Oct 9th.

BallerStatus.com: Any advice for individuals who want to become rappers?

Q-Tip: You have to love it. In order to do it you have to love it.