This Day in Hip Hop and Rap History
Host: Chuck D w/ Duke Eatmon & Ron Maskell
August 11th, 2012
August 11th - Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, Lucy Pearl and The Ummah production unit was born in Brooklyn, New York on this day in 1970.
Muhammad began deejaying local house parties at 8 years of age and eventually co-founded legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with childhood friends Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Jarobi.
A Tribe Called Quest released their classic first album “People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm” in 1990.
Two more legendary albums followed, 1991’s “The Low End Theory” and 1993’s “Midnight Marauders” all on Jive Records.
A Tribe Called Quest released two more albums on Jive before calling it quits; 1996’s “Beats, Rhymes And Life” and 1998’s “The Love Movement.”
A Tribe Called Quest’s socially-conscious lyrics backed by jazz funk production allowed their place in hip-hop history to be firmly protected.
Muhammad played a pivotal role in the production of the group’s music.
Classic cuts like “Jazz (We’ve Got)”, “Scenario”, Bonita Applebum” and “Oh My God” remain hip-hop favorites until this day.
A Tribe Called Quest, along with De La Soul and The Jungle Brothers, formed what was known as The Native Tongue Posse. Queen Latifah and Monie Love also became part of the collective as did Black Sheep, who joined the crew in 1991.
In the mid-1990’s Muhammad formed The Ummah production team with fellow Quest member Tip and the late J Dilla. The Ummah would produce recordings for a wide range of artists like Faith Evans, Mos Def and D’Angelo.
Many claim that Muhammad’s work with the latter created what became known as the “Neo-Soul” movement, sparking the careers of artists like Erykah Badu, Maxwell and Eric Benet.
Muhammad has also done production work outside of The Ummah team for KRS-One, Maroon 5, Janet Jackson and Jill Scott, just to name a mere few.
In 1996, Muhammad was hired as an A&R man at Quincy Jones label Qwest Records. Muhammad unsuccessfully attempted to sign The Black Eyed Peas, Common and The Neptunes, when Qwest Records could not see the potential in these performers that Muhammad was foreseeing.
In 1999, Muhammad formed R’n’B super-group Lucy Pearl with Dawn Robinson, formerly of En Vogue, and Raphael Saadiq , formely of Tony Toni Tone, who released a successful Self-Entitled debut album that spawned the smash hit “Dance Tonight.”
In 2004, Muhammad released his debut solo album called “Shaheedulah And Stereotypes.”
That same year, A Tribe called Quest would
reunite for the Rock The Bells Tour and again in 2006 touring across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad also appeared with the group in the controversial 2011 Michael Rapaport directed documentary about the legendary hip-hop group called “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest.”
Muhammad continues to tour the world as a DJ and is currently working on two more solo albums.