A Tribe Called Quest (1988-2017)

The Lost Tribes Album Cover
The Lost Tribes Album Cover
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A Tribe Called Quest was a pioneer hip-hop ensemble formed in St. Albans, Queens, New York, in 1985. It comprised rapper and principal producer Q-Tipis also known as Kamaal Ibn John Fareed who was born Jonathan William Davis on April 10, 1970; rapper Phife Dawg who was born Malik Izaak Taylor on November 20, 1970; DJ and joint-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad who was born on August 11, 1970; and rapper Jarobi White who was born on July 1, 1971.

During the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest had a string of hits that included the singles “Can I Kick It” from their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. It peaked at no. 15 UK, followed by “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” from the same collection that peaked at no. 86 UK and two singles from the sophomore album The Low-End Theory. “Check the Rhime,” reached no. 59 R&B in 1991 and “Scenario” in 1992 reached no. 42 R&B and no. 57 Billboard Hot 100. In 1993, “Award Tour” from Midnight Marauders reached no. 27 on both the Dance and R&B chart and no. 47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also, charting from the same album was “Electric Relaxation (Relax Yourself Girl).” In 1994, it reached no. 38 R&B and no 65 US. The collection also included “Oh My God,” which made it to no. 68 UK, no. 69 R&B, and no. 102 Billboard Hot 100. The Love Movement album also released in 1994 included the singles, “Find a Way / Steppin’ It Up” reached no.41 UK. Later that year, 1994, the ensemble won The Source Awards for “Group of the Year.”

In 1998, the group disbanded briefly to pursue solo careers but remains connected. In 2005, A Tribe Called Quest released again the single “Can I Kick It?” that peaked at no. 194 UK. In addition, the group won the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards’ “Founders Award” in 1998.

While the group has been nominated four times for a Grammy Award, in 2012 at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, it was finally recognized for “Best Long Form Music Video” for the song “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.”

In 2016, the group released its final album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. The singles from the album, “The Space Program” reached no. 102 R&B and no. 125 US Pop Chart, and “We the People…” reached no. 31 R&B and no. 77 US Pop Chart.

Malik (Phife Dawg) Izaak Taylor died suddenly on March 22, 2016. One year later A Tribe Called Quest received the 2017 Brit Awards for International Group in London, England. Soon afterwards the group permanently disbanded in 2017 in East Lulworth, Dorset, United Kingdom.