A Tribe Called Quest
New York, New York, United States
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Seminal hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest first began to germinate when childhood friends Q-Tip (born Jonathan Davis) and Phife Dawg (born Malik Izaak Taylor) met in Queens, New York. They came together with two other up and comers in the local rap scene, Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, to form the group A Tribe Called Quest in 1985. By '89, the group was signed to Jive Records, where they released their debut album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The band's playful and optimistic lyrics and chilled out musical style was a revelation in the hip-hop scene, and tracks like "Can I Kick It?" and "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" crossed over to alternative music playlists as well. Nonetheless, White left the group soon after the album's release, leaving their next record, 1991's The Low End Theory, to be recorded as a trio. Next, the group released Midnight Marauders, which led to them playing 1994's alternative music festival Lollapalooza. Around this same time, the group joined forces with Detroit producer Amp Fiddler to form the production team known as the Ummah. The Ummah would produce all of ATCQ's subsequent albums, including 1996's Beats, Rhymes and Life and the album that they announced to be their last, 1998's The Love Movement. During the following years, the various members of the band would work independently as producers and collaborators with the likes of D'Angelo and Mobb Deep, before reuniting in 2004 for the Rock the Bells concert held in the Angels Stadium parking lot in Anaheim, California, which found them performing a tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan. Two years later, the group began performing regularly again, touring several major cities. They would also play extensively throughout the 2013 festival season. In 2011, the band was the subject of Michael Rapaport's documentary, "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest." Phife Dawg died in 2016 at the age of 45 due to complications relating to diabetes, leaving the group's future in doubt.