Among the countless artists A Tribe Called Quest lyricist Q-Tip has worked with in his career was the late J Dilla. During his audio documentary with BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Benji B, Tip recalled working with Dilla at the start of his career, taking the then up-and-coming producer under his wing and introducing him to the likes of Common, D’Angelo and De La Soul’s Posdnuos.
He then spoke on J Dilla’s death in 2006, adding that the Detroit musician was “gone way too soon.”
“By the time it got to me I kinda exposed him,” Q-Tip said. “And took him under my wing. And Common came to the crib. I introduced him to D’Angelo and Amir. And then he started having his relationships with everybody. And Pos and all these guys. So, it was just a great thing…It’s just sad that he just was gone way too soon. You know, that’s the real tragedy. [More] than anything. That he was just gone way too soon. He didn’t get to really realize his dreams and his aspirations. But just knowing him and helping him, introducing him. I feel like ‘Man, I was able to be a part of helping bring this guy’s career about. Who’s affected so many people.’ Like I’m good. If I was to go today. If I was to die I know that I did something of worth.”
Q-Tip also offered a few details on his upcoming solo album, The Last Zulu, which is currently slated for release this winter. He referred to the album as being darker than past projects and even dubbed it the evil twin to A Tribe Called Quest.
“I’m just excited about this next album, The Last Zulu,” he said. “Some of my biggest inspirations are like Miles Davis, David Bowie. I mentioned those two specifically because they were able to do—Like they worked through eras. Or they had periods, rather…It’s really about just being where I’m at in life. And just coming from a different kind of time in a way and existing today. And kinda just trying to find my way through the new languages. And through the new subcultures. And just questions that we all ask ourselves…Almost like ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ or that Beach Boys song, ‘Not Made For These Times’ or something like that…It’s like the evil twin to Tribe in a way.”
Although A Tribe Called Quest performed at what they said would be their last show together last year, Q-Tip did reveal that he has something special in store for fans for the 25th anniversary of Tribe’s The Low End Theory.
“We’re going to come to 25 years on Low End Theory pretty soon, and I’m going to put out a special edition,” Q-Tip said, according to AllHipHop.com. “I’m announcing it here first to the world. I will be putting out a special edition twenty-fifth year anniversary album. We’re going to include all of the stuff you guys probably never heard, different mixes. And one of those songs I’ll include when we get to the Low End Theory is this song that we did – I think it was called ‘Silence’ and Leaders of the New School were on it.”
Q-Tip’s audio-documentary can be found below.