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Still kicking it

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: (L-R) Ali Shaheed Mohammed, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg

HIP-HOP MUSIC started evolving in the 1990s, with the emergence of West Coast gangsta rap, conscious hip-hop and alternative hip-hop. One group born in that era went on to become one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time were A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ).

Made up of childhood friends Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and DJ Ali Shaheed Mohammed, has been described as the band that changed the face of the genre. With their jazz inspired break beats and conscious and sometimes mind blowing metaphors, it’s no surprise that rappers regularly name them as the group that inspired them to be the artists they are today.

L&S caught up with founding member Ali Shaheed Mohammed, who is in town this weekend for an eagerly anticipated live DJ set. He talked about music in the UK, touring with ATCQ and working with Raphael Saadiq again.

Many artists such as Pharrell Williams and Kanye West hold ATCQ in high esteem, how does that make you feel?
It feels good. You know I have a relationship with Pharrell that goes back. When I was working at Quest Records, I tried to get those guys a record deal.

Are you looking forward to the set in London?
I’ve done DJ sets in the UK before but I have never performed at the Jazz Café. I’m going to do a bit of everything - funk, soul, hip-hop. What I love about the UK is that it is so much more flavourful. There are so many artists that come from the UK and the lyrical intellectualism is very intriguing. London is a music town; a music of Integrity, quality and a lot more honest.

Which UK and hip hop artists are you feeling at the moment?
I’m really feeling the UK artists 2omorrows Victory and for hip-hop there is only one person I am listening to and plugging right now - Joey Badass. He is only 17 but he is amazing. People go check him out.

Do you still see Q -Tip and Phife Dawg and will you all be touring the UK anytime soon?
Both Q-Tip and Phife are doing good. I’m not sure when we will be coming back to the UK as ATCQ but there are a few dates in Europe lined up.

What was it like working with Raphael Saadiq and Dawn Robinson when you were in Lucy Pearl?
The chemistry and creativity in Lucy Pearl was magical. Raphael is like a big brother to me and the mixture was good; I learned a lot. But I don’t know whether we are going to work again soon. We need another Don’t Mess With My Man as he is a doing something a little different right now with his music.

We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for Ali Shaheed Mohammed’s live DJ set at London’s Jazz Café. All you need to do is email your name to no later than 4pm on Friday February 1

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