A Tribe Called Quest

In stark contrast to the anger and venom of a wave of early 1990s gangsta rap acts, A Tribe Called Quest built on the influence of De La Soul and Gil Scott Heron in tackling social issues with poised intelligence and a sound that drew on jazz, soul and funk music. The childhood friends signed a deal with Jive Records in 1989 and soon gained recognition for their sophistication and laid-back rhythms, before the release of classic debut album People's Instinctive Travels And Paths Of Rhythms (1990). Sampling Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side and Ian Dury's What A Waste, the single Can You Kick It? became their big anthem and the albums Midnight Marauders (1993) and US Number 1 Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) brought great critical acclaim. They split in 1998 with Q-Tip and Phife Dawg going on to solo careers, but have reformed intermittently for reunion gigs since. The group remain seminal figures in hip hop, and a huge influence on acts such as Kanye West, Ludacris and Tyler The Creator.

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