On this day, April 11th, in hip-hop history…
2012: “What is my label when I exit boom status?” Q-Tip famously opined on The Low-End Theory. More than two decades after A Tribe Called Quest broke ground as one of hip-hop’s all-time great groups, The Abstract inked a deal with G.O.O.D. Music, galvanizing his solo career and bolstering Kanye West’s growing empire. An artist so frantically trying to advance the genre’s boundaries had officially added one of the Golden Age’s premiere emcees. The hype was warranted.
While part of the recruitment was anchored by Barry Weiss, the CEO of Island Def Jam that worked with A Tribe Called Quest at Jive, Q and ‘Ye also had a strong relationship before the signing. West interpolated Tribe’s “Award Tour” in the first verse of his song “The Glory” back in ‘07, and the two linked up during recording sessions for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch The Throne. Q-Tip’s third solo LP Kamaal/The Abstract was shelved for seven years by Arista Records, and after short stints at Universal Motown and Battery Records, he joined Kanye’s Def Jam imprint to properly prepare the release of his upcoming album The Last Zulu.
Despite turning 44 this week (happy belated, homie), Q-Tip shows no sign of calling it quits. Q didn’t appear on the Cruel Summer compilation, which dropped just five months after he signed to the label, but according to fellow G.O.O.D. rapper Pusha T, the potential follow-up Cruel Winter is a “Q-Tip/Kanye thing.” Marinate on that for a minute.
The Zulu Nation emcee is also slated to produce Kanye’s next LP, alongside Rick Rubin, and performed on East Coast legs of the Yeezus Tour last December as part of ATCQ’s final shows. While we’re still without an official G.O.O.D. release, we’re confident that The Last Zulu will deliver.—Steven Goldstein