Q-Tip Recalls Playing The “One Love” Beat For Nas The First Time They Met
Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Busta Rhymes, and Consequence appear on this week’s episode of Drink Champs. N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN interview A Tribe Called Quest members and affiliates about a litany of subjects. Q-Tip, who speaks at length about producing “Bonita Applebum,” as well as A.T.C.Q’s 2016 material, spoke about his sole contribution to Nas’ 1994 debut, Illmatic. Revealing that the beat to video single “One Love” was the first thing he played a teenage Nas. It was a product of a budding friendship between The Abstract and Nas’ mentor, Large Professor.
At 48:30 in the episode, Tip paints the picture. “It was summer. I had already heard [Nas]. Son, he spazzed on [Main Source’s “Live At The Barbeque”]. Me, [Large Professor], and Pete [Rock]…everybody sitting at [this] table, [Consequence, Busta Rhymes], Jarobi, can verify this shit…now here’s the thing if you go back to that period: niggas was talking about [Akinyele and Large Professor’s verses from the song]. But it was unanimous that [Nas] had it bodied! Niggas was still talkin’ about the whole shit.” While Tip was a fan in 1991, he had yet to meet the fellow Queens native who made powerful impact on his first appearance on wax. “When I finally got up with Large Professor and shit, we had just did a lot of a-alikes shit, ’cause of beats and shit, and [rapping].” From there, Large Pro’ trusted his fellow MC/producer/DJ with his pupil. “He was like, ‘Yo, I didn’t really wanna take [Nas] around to too many niggas, but he gotta come sit with you.’ I was like all day. We was still livin’ in the hood, my nigga. We was still around the way. [Consequence] used to come with me. The first time he probably came to the studio, in a session was ‘One Love'”
Q-Tip adds that at the time (which Consequence remembers as 1993), a lot was happening in the five boroughs. “We’re talking about New York City ’91, right? That was the hottest year in recorded history: murder, crime, it was crazy. Niggas was gettin’ left right where they stood, left and right, my nigga. We still livin’ in the hood! So we right around the way; we got our own lil’ fort. We got our own shit happening right there. Large [Professor] was comin’ in and out the house. [One time he had Nas with him]. I was like, ‘Word? So bring him by.’ We was at Phife’s house. We were set up; our equipment was set up at Phife’s house, in the basement. Large came to me specifically and asked if I had something for [Nas], and that he was a fan and wanted to fuck around. That day, Phife was at the crib. His grandma would always let me in [to make music]… R.I.P. grandma. We was down in the basement. It was summer. Niggas was outside; shit was going on. So Paul came through with Akinyele and Nas. So we in the basement and shit. The first shit I played was the ‘One Love’ shit.” Pressed by hosts, Tribe’s front man continues, “That was the first joint.” Imitating Nas’ inhaling smoke, he mimics, “‘[Inhales], yo play that shit again.’ Paul was like, ‘That shit is dope!'” With the vibraphone-based beat playing, Q-Tip says he and guests stayed in the cool basement, getting high (reportedly to a strand called Princess Black, so says Consequence) and admiring to the beat that was the first of the producer’s batch. “Niggas bounced, and that’s it.” Large Professor collected the beat, and would reconvene with Q-Tip in the studio to make the album, with Cons’ at his side. “He scribed that shit up. He hit it, and that was it.”
Moments later, Cons’ and Tip state the importance of the Linden Boulevard corner where the Phife Dawg Mural is today. Calling back to the summer The Abstract described, Consequence says “That’s where we stood!” He recalls A.T.C.Q. bringing affiliates, including Hurricane G to that very location. Cons’ interjects, recalling battling a lyrical legend there, from another Queens crew. “I battled Run right where the mural’s at.” Busta Rhymes chimes in, “Yo, you fucked me up with that one.” Cons’ laughs, and says, You was out there.” He details a high school aged spitter taking on one of Hip-Hop’s (and Queens’) greatest voices.
Other highlights in the interview include Busta’s closeness with Tribe during tense times with Leaders Of The New School, Q-Tip’s reaction to Kanye West’s recent public appearances and remarks, and his friendship with Lupe Fiasco after the Vh1 Hip Hop Honors flub of the lyrics to Tribe’s “Electric Relaxation.”
#BonusBeat: Tip would also do his own remix of “The World Of Yours”:
This version appeared on Illmatic XX.