Friday, 13 March 2009

Heroes: Q-Tip

'Q-Tip is my title, i don't think that is vital, for me to be your idol, but dig this recital...'

'Back in the days when i was a teenager, before i had status and before i had a pager...'

'I'm the cherry on the top of your ice-cream, i'm the piece of thought inside your dream...'

So, welcome to the first installment of our Heroes feature. First up is Q-Tip, aka The Abstract, aka Jonathan Davis, aka Kamaal Ibn John Fareed. He's a fitting person to start with as he was hugely influential in shaping how i think about music and in setting me off on the journey of exploring influences that never ends. As a teenager i spent hours staring out the side of minbuses after football games listening to Tribe albums on my walkman, pouring over the lyrics and wondering about places like Lyden Boulevard, Queens and El Segundo and how different they were from the pebbledash suburbia that i knew. He is a great rapper but more importantly for me, he a great lyricist. I loved Ali Shaheed's beats and jazz samples and Phife's energy but Q-Tip showed me that music could be about ideas and philosophy, about poetry and wordplay. As a huge Dylan fan, i can't help but think that it was the Tribe's influence that set me on that path. I love the 'Daisy Age' hip-hop-meets-hippy mentality and sheer positivity he's always had, a track like 'Go Ahead In The Rain' is a good example, a song about staying positive and ambitious despite the depressing aspects of life, a pretty useful influence if you live in grey, rainy England.

Tomorrow night i get to see Q-Tip live for the first time and i'm pretty excited. His new album, The Renaissance, is the best thing he's done since Beats, Rhymes & Life (although The Love Movement is massively underrated).

Q-Tip - Johnny Is Dead from The Renaissance
A Tribe Called Quest - Excursions from The Low End Theory
A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien from People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm

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