His father was from Montserrat and his mother an African-American from Alabama, but Jonathan Davis came from New York, changing his name to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed after converting to Islam and being dubbed Q-Tip by Afrika Baby Bam of the Jungles Brothers; comparing the softness of his voice to a Q-tip. He first came to attention with the highly influential band A Tribe Called Quest, acclaimed for their jazz-rap fusions and progressive lyrics on their acclaimed debut album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths Of Rhythm. He also established his individuality, collaborating on De La Soul's groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising album, before launching his solo career with the dance heavy album Amplified when A Tribe Called Quest split in 1998. Q-Tip guested on the REM album Around The Sun and, although contractual problems hindered his solo work, he built a formidable reputation as a cutting edge producer. He finally released his second solo album The Renaissance in 2008, nearly a decade after his first; but his unmistakeable understated fluid rap style was still magical (including a sample of Barack Obama on the track Shaka), proving he was still a major force. In 2009 he was back again with an album he originally worked on in 2003, the much more diverse Kamaal The Abstract.

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