Tribe Called Quest - Biography

Tribe Called Quest Biography

Album cover of The Low End Theory
Album cover of The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest is an influential alternative rap group of the 1990s, originally formed in Queens, New York City in 1988. The group is comprised of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

Q-Tip and Phife had grown up together in Queens, and met Muhammad in high school. The group's name was coined by The Jungle Brothers, whose members attended the same school. Soon after, the group began performing live and recording on a local label.

At the time of their inception, A Tribe Called Quest was virtually unique within the hip-hop community for eschewing gangsta rap and macho posturing. Their lyrics focused on abstract and social issues such as the word 'nigger', date rape and consumerism. Musically, the group helped pioneer the jazz-rap style (along with groups such as Gang Starr and De La Soul). They made their studio debut in 1990 with People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm. Though this album was critically acclaimed and lead to a strong fan following, their next album, The Low End Theory (1991) was a massive artistic success, appearing on several best of the year lists. It is considered one of the most important hip-hop albums to date. The Low End Theory was followed by Midnight Marauders (1993), Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) and The Love Movement (1998).

Following their final album, the group disbanded. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg went on to pursue independent solo careers. Muhammad went on to found the R&B group Lucy Pearl and to also pursue a solo career.


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