Malcolm-Jamal Warner has been touring as part of a jazz tribute to A Tribe Called Quest for a little over a year, but their impact on his life began decades ago.

The renowned actor told HipHopDX that his love for the iconic Hip Hop group started when he first saw the video for their 1990 debut single, “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo.”

“It was weird. But at the same time it was almost a welcome weird, because it was different,” Warner said. “It wasn’t the typical aggressive ‘Arrr,’ but there was something. It was weird, but there was something fly about it.

“Just the beats and I guess the samples they chose, it just gave you a different vibe that I think Hip Hop at the time needed because it was different,” he continued. “I think that was the thing, how it would manage to be weird but not soft.”

When the Cosby Show grad and his wife made plans to attend Atlanta artist Dashill Smith’s live tribute “We Got The Jazz: The Jazz Of A Tribe Called Quest” in December 2021, Malcolm-Jamal Warner decided that he had to get involved with the performance.

“I hit Dashiell up like, ‘Yo, who’s playing bass?’ He told me Khari [Simmons] was playing bass,” Warner recalled. “Khari’s a friend of mine. I hit him up and was just like, my wife and I are coming to the show. And he said, ‘Well, why don’t you sit in on the tune?'”

After accepting the invitation, he went back to Smith and asked if he could he could add one of A Tribe Called Quest’s verses to his guest set.

“So literally the very first show I come in, the audience doesn’t know anything,” he recounted. “I sit in, I play bass on “Bonita Applebum” and I do “Check the Rhime” with Dashiell. And the show was so fire that I basically ended up becoming a part of the show. And every time we did it, the show, I would just end up playing bass or more songs and splitting verses on more songs with Dashiell.”

Malcolm-Jamal Warner added: “So I was the last addition to the show, and then just once I got on it. Just look at it this way. The show is a fire show on its own. And then when I came a part of it just went to a whole ‘nother level.”

While Warner’s second career as a musician may be news to some, he actually earned one of the most coveted awards in music in 2015, when he took home the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance as a Featured Performer with his appearance on Robert Glasper Experiment’s “Jesus Children,” featuring Lala Hathaway.

On Sunday (February 5), Malcolm-Jamal Warner is not only set to present at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, but he is also up for the award for “Best Spoken Word Poetry Album” for his 2022 release Hiding In Plain View.

The nomination coincides with A Tribe Called Quest’s own milestone nod, announced earlier this week.

On Wednesday (February 1), The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced its list of nominees for the 2023 induction ceremony with Missy and Tribe leading the way for Hip Hop. Other nominees include Iron Maiden, Rage Against The Machine, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael and Willie Nelson.

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Missy Elliott is a first-time nominee as this is her first year of eligibility. Given that her debut album Supa Dupa Fly dropped in July 1997, the Virginia native meets the criteria, which states that 25 years must have passed since an artist’s first commercial recording.

A Tribe Called Quest, meanwhile, was previously nominated last year but didn’t receive enough votes to be inducted. One Hip Hop great who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022, though, was Eminem, who finished second on the fan ballot with nearly 685,000 votes — second only to Duran Duran.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2023 will be announced in May, with the induction ceremony taking place in the fall. Fans can cast their votes as part of the fan ballot here.