Q-Tip and the remaining surviving members of A Tribe Called Quest recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their classic third album, 1993’s Midnight Marauders. The album is widely considered the group’s greatest album, featuring some of Q-Tip’s best verses. As rap fans look back at Tribe’s prolific history, they also hope for new music from The Abstract.
While Q-Tip has been relatively quiet on the music front, he teased three entire albums worth of material back in 2020. While none of those releases have seen the light of day, that has not stopped him from collaborating with others. Q-Tip often brings the best out of the artists he works with, so we are highlighting some of his best collaborations. Here are 7 of Q-Tip’s hottest hip hop collabs. Take a look at the list below.
Busta Rhymes – “Ill Vibe” (1996)
Busta Rhymes is one of Q-Tip’s closest and most frequent collaborators. The two have worked together throughout their careers in different capacities. Early on, they appeared on posse cuts with A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School together and later featured on each other’s solo albums. One of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip’s earliest and hottest collabs is “Ill Vibe” from Busta’s debut solo album, The Coming. The laidback boom bap classic was produced by The Ummah, Tip’s production collective with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and J Dilla. “Ill Vibe” contains Q-Tip’s smooth flow and Busta’s animated delivery, making for one of their most iconic collabs.
This highlight from The Roots’ classic Illadelph Halflife album sees Black Thought and Q-Tip trading bars back and forth. The funky instrumental lends itself to both of their rap styles, as well as their musical chemistry. The two each take their own unique approach to rapping, but they blend their styles together on “Ital.” Black Thought is known for outshining other rappers on most tracks, but he and Q-Tip work together for a skillful exchange of bars.
One of Q-Tip’s hottest collabs is the remix of Missy Elliott’s 1999 single, “Hot Boyz.” The remix features an all-star lineup, including Missy, Tip, Nas, Eve, and Lil Mo. An eclectic mix of hip hop artists, each rapper gets their moment to shine over the Timbaland-produced beat. The “Hot Boyz” remix was massively successful, spending 18 weeks atop the Hot Rap Singles chart and breaking the record for most weeks at No. 1 on the R&B chart at the time. While “Hot Boyz” stands out as one of Missy’s greatest works, its remix is a standout collaboration between various artists, including Q-Tip.
Q-Tip and Slum Village were a perfect match on “Hold Tight.” He kicks off the relaxed song with a smooth verse, commenting on the state of the rap game. Tip raps, “N****s in the game is getting too slimy / Liable to make this peace turn grimy,” passing the torch to Slum Village. In his verse, Q-Tip voices his frustrations with greedy industry executives and places his faith in his musical peers. He shouts out each member of Slum Village, along with D’Angelo, Busta Rhymes, and his fellow members of A Tribe Called Quest. He sets the tone for J Dilla, T3, and Baatin to spit their verses, resulting in a standout track from Fantastic, Vol. 2.
Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, & Kanye West – “Thank You” (2013)
Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes have remained close throughout their careers, eventually teaming up for a collaborative mixtape, 2013’s The Abstract & The Dragon. The project compiled old classics from their group and solo careers, as well as new material like “Thank You.” The song samples Alicia Myers’s “I Wanna Thank You.” Lil Wayne and Kanye West briefly make appearances, symbolizing a truce between the Young Money and G.O.O.D. Music labels, to which Busta and Tip were respectively signed. Over the groovy instrumental, Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip display their longtime chemistry, effortlessly flowing to match the fast guitar sample. The two match each other’s skills, standing out as one of both Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip’s best songs. It is also one of Q-Tip’s biggest hip hop collabs, going silver in the UK.
James BKS, Q-Tip, Idris Elba, & Little Simz – “New Breed” (2019)
In 2019, French musician James BKS recruited Q-Tip, Little Simz, and Idris Elba for “New Breed,” a standalone single that captured elements of hip hop and dance music worldwide. Over a festive and joyous instrumental, Q-Tip slides across the beat, Idris Elba excites, and Simz dazzles with her verse. The French, American, and British artists each rap about their African heritage and what it means to them. Each rapper provides their own unique style to the celebratory song, embracing Africa through the lens of their different nationalities.
Eminem, Royce Da 5’9”, Black Thought, Q-Tip, & Denaun – “Yah Yah” (2020)
“Yah Yah” is one of Q-Tip’s hottest collabs as his catchy hook serves as the centerpiece for an explosive banger. The song sees Eminem, Black Thought, and Royce Da 5’9” spit rapid flows with complex rhyme schemes at a high energy. The song serves as an ode to the golden era of hip hop that inspired each artist, as emphasized by each verse and the hook from Q-Tip. The collaboration between Eminem, Royce, Black Thought, Q-Tip, and Denaun is a prime example of top-tier lyricists spitting a high caliber, paying homage to their hip hop idols. “Yah Yah” is one of Q-Tip’s most memorable collabs in recent memory, leaving fans yearning for more music.