Q-Tip: The Twitterview
Ironically, prior to those politically-charged postings HipHopDX was already planning to conduct our first ever Twitterview with the Tribe Called Quest frontman to highlight his consistently eye-grabbing tweets. With diverse tweets ranging in topic from sports [T. O. is a malcontent who will turn into dennis rodman when he retires], to the beating of a 15-year-old girl by Seattle police while in custody [That cop is a punk. I'm issuing a formal challenge to him. A 3 round boxing match the proceeds can go to a charity of his choice in seattle], to some self-promotion [NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FROM THE RENAISSANCE! Life Is Better featuring NORA JONES.... sept.. 16th], to paying his respects to a fallen comrade [RIP to BAATIN of slum village. May God bless his soul], to just some of the downright weirdest tweets on Twitter [my feet smell like apple vinegar], Tip has shown and proven himself to be a Twitter star deserved of his own Twitterview.
While Twitterviews are actually not new ABC political correspondent George Stephanopoulos is credited with conducting the first notable Q&A of its kind this past March with Senator John McCain the format has previously been your standard interview form with just shorter, 140 character-limited, questions and answers. But in DXs version of the Twitterview weve flipped the script, and instead of asking our questions via Twitter, or asking any questions at all for that matter, weve taken what Q-Tip has posted himself via his Twitter account over the six months prior to when this interview was conducted (on August 21, 2009) and asked the Abstract Poetic to expound on, or flesh out, what he was really trying to say in those brief tweets. Tweeting is far from a interpretation-free form of communication, and many artists are finding out that what they tweet doesnt always reflect the full context of what they meant to express to the world (which still leaves room for this pesky thing called journalism to exist as much as Twitter-ing artists believe they can now tweet their way to avoiding inquiries into their activities).
But with the introduction of any new communication medium like Twitter, the initial reception is usually skeptical. And it was no different with the introduction of Hip Hops first Twitterview. Running late to his next appointment for the day as he maneuvered down a bustling New York City street, two hours after our originally scheduled start time and audibly exhausted after a days worth of long (likely repetitive) telephone interviews, its completely understandable why Tip wasnt initially diggin this writers admittedly yet-to-be-refined new interview approach.
And so while a somewhat bumpy ride, HipHopDXs Twitterview with Q-Tip was ultimately a worthwhile journey. So hopefully youll stay strapped into your seat through its entirety to learn plenty more about recent Tip tweets, including posts regarding the One Love producers professional reunion with Nas, as well as what could mark the permanent end to the instinctive travels of A Tribe Called Quest.
HipHopDX: This interview is not gonna be like any interview youve probably ever done. I went through your Twitter postings from the last six months, and I want you to expound on each of these dozen or so tweets I selected.
Q-Tip: [Interrupts] Aw, man. I don't know. [Short pause] Are you serious?
DX: Yeah, I mean, youre not cool with that or?
Q-Tip: I meanarghhh!
DX: I got plugs in there for your tweets you made about the different projects you need plugged
Q-Tip: [Hesitates] Ah-ah-ah alright, I just dont wanna do anything negative.
DX: Okay, well I dont got the Bloomberg stuff or none of that. This is all music
Q-Tip: [Interrupts] Well I dont care about that. Ill deal with that. But I just dont wanna deal with anything like if it [has a] negative answer. I wouldnt wanna deal with it. But alright, go head.
DX: Okay. Well just let me know if its negative
Q-Tip: [Interrupts] Okay, I will, alright.
DX: Alright. First tweet, I'm tired of every rap dude saying their album is "CLASSIC". No humility [1:16 PM Apr 30th].
Q-Tip: [Short pause] Right. [Short pause] So the question is? Expound on that. I mean, I just feel that when you see those posts sometimes, and dudes doing interviews, and theyre like, Yo tell us about the album. Yo tell us about your album, obligatory emcee. Oh, you know, well it's classic. Knowhatimsayin, its like [inaudible] di-di-di-da. And thats good, and you gotta promote your shit. And I understand that. But, when everybody calls it classic, and says that their shit is classic, it just First of all, it lessens the term for those who it really is classic. And second of all, its just falsified. And third, you should just be blessed and humbled that youre doing music. And if people like it then they like it. But when you just start becoming this self-proclaimed genius and classic, its just a little nerve-wracking. No other artist in any kind of other music genre really does that. You dont see R&B artists saying Yeah, this is Joe and my new shit is classic.
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Knowhatimsayin? Its just a little the ego is just crazy to me.
DX: Alright, next tweet, oh boy gang.... imbeefing with my record company and it doesnt look good [12:39 PM Mar 2nd].
Q-Tip: I cant remember what that was in reference to, specifically.
DX: It was back on March 2nd. I dont know if that gives you any
Q-Tip: I dont know, it was probably over some budget or something That was probably just in regards to me riffin about some budgetary thing or something. But Ive grown up since then. I dont tweet like that anymore. [Laughs]
DX: Okay [Laughs]. Well, next tweet from like a month later [Laughs], record companies dont care about albums i had the prez of uni/mo tell me to put out a maxi single instead of an album [7:28 PM Apr 13th].
Q-Tip: She was just introducing that idea to me about albums dont sell anymore, they dont matter, you should just put out a maxi-single and rock like that Not a maxi-single, but like four songs, figure it out, see what happens And it just takes away from the credence of an album. And I think we are artists. And the operative word there is artist. You have a vision. And sometimes your vision cant be I cant get it with just one or two songs. Its like a whole album. You can pull one song that you [want] to say, "Hey, this is the single of a greater group of work." But, I believe in the album format.
DX: Next tweet, another question.. when are these new, highly touted m.c.'s gonna put some music out??
Q-Tip: [Interrupts] Ah, this sounds like Im hatin
DX: Well thats why Im giving you a chance to expound on it, cause tweets The whole point of this [is] tweets are brief. And that this is a chance to flesh out what you were trying to say, youknowhatImean?
Q-Tip: I know, but all of em are pretty self-explanatory. And they all come from a spirit of complaint. So it makes me look like Im just out-my-mouth and hatin, and Im not that. Like, those things are very specific, and maybe a few tweets out of some 150 posts that I made.
DX: Well I got more. [Laughs]
Q-Tip: Okay, lets get the next one then.
DX: @flyinmoon phife = good. tribe = no [10:39 AM May 30th]
Q-Tip: @flyinmoonoh okay, somebody musta asked me hows Phife and are you guys doing another [A Tribe Called Quest] [click to read] album. So, that was that one.
DX: Okay. Next one, im working on cons and nas' albums [12:30 PM Jul 2nd].
Q-Tip: I just did a joint the other night for [Consequence] [ciick to read] pretty insane. Uhworking on that album with Kanye [West], and thats going really good. But he has a really solid album And Nas, I been trying to connect with him. I think hes running around, but we gonna get it. I have a few joints that [are] ready for him, ready to go.
DX: And the next tweet, and im abt to start my NEW JOINT [12:30 PM Jul 2nd].
Q-Tip: I am actually. And Im gonna eventually tell everybody the title. But thatll probably be next year.
DX: Next tweet, This tribe documentary is produced by nas and directed by mike rappaport [7:29 PM Mar 31st], and, I just looked at footage from the tribe documentary... I'm not just saying it its FUCKING AMAZING!!! Can't wait for yall to see this! [7:18 PM Mar 31st]
Q-Tip: Yeah, the little [clips] that he put together for me to see, it really looked great. Theyve actually started editing it now. Im anxious and excited to see how the rest of it came out.
Q-Tip: Im surprised you dont have my Twitticide thing on there. Im surprised you dont have the [tweet] where I committed Twitticide [on July 2nd].
DX: Yeah, I saw that.
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Ohhhh boy
DX: Next one, prince just called.... thats kinda bugged out right? [6:22 PM Mar 24th]
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Yeah, thatits wow when you think about it. Its like, Shit, Prince called? Its just like, you dont expect him to call you. You expect him to be in the studio bangin out, or whatever.
DX: Next one, Tickets going fast!! MJ bday CELEBRATION aug 29th nokia theatre NYC.. TIMES SQUARE!![7:11 PM Aug 5th]
Q-Tip: Yeah man, that is something that we have to do ya know? [Michael Jackson] was like the best who ever did it. And thats his birthday. Thats the day theyre gonna bury him. And, you know, just gonna pay tribute to him.
DX: And youre gonna be working on a remix album too I understand [click to read]?
Q-Tip: Yeah, remixing one of his songs andyeah, just trying to keep his legacy going.
DX: Okay. Alright, the next tweet is just a opportunity to plug the new album, kamaal the abstract album by qtip.... release date SEPTEMBER 15th!! look out for BARELY IN LOVE & EVEN IF SHE IS...[3:39 PM Jul 14th]
Q-Tip: Um, yep, thats still coming out, September 15th. Umexcited about that. Hopefully people will check it out. Its the album that I did a while ago. So, looking forward to that.
DX: Okay. Uh, and the next one, industry rules!! the book! [http://bit.ly/10Cscs 3:07 PM Jul 16th]
Q-Tip: Mm-hmm. I did a deal with Random House, and we are in the midst right now of figuring out who were gonna get to pen it So, were just going through [that process] right now.
DX: Okay, alright. Well, I dont wanna take any more of your time.
Q-Tip: Nah, youre good, brother. Youre good. I actually like this. This is kind of a cool idea actually. I was kinda like, "Huh, what?" But now its like, wow this shit is dope. This is smart of you to do this.
DX: Its not really eliciting the type of replies I need for quotes and stuff, so I was hoping that This didnt really work out to elicit longer quotes, so
Q-Tip: Oh, you want it to be longer quotes you said?
DX: Yeah, I just needed longer replies, but
Q-Tip: So my replies were too short?
DX: Well just, the short, "Yeah, were doing that" kinda thing like
Q-Tip: Well where did I say that at? Talk to me. Where did I say that at?
DX: Uh, just on a few of the different
Q-Tip: Like, okay lets go, tell me what you want from me; lets fix it.
DX: Umlet me seefor instance on the Tribe documentary, I was just hoping for some details about what were gonna see in the movie.
Q-Tip: Okay, well I think whats gonna be in it is like, from what I saw in the clips, its stuff that other people like Ghostface [Killah] [click to read] and Nas and Busta [Rhymes] [click to read] [and other artists said] about us, which is actually funny. Pharrell [click to read] [is] in there talking about shit like Busta talking about like the Scenario session. Like shit of us performing on tour, when we was on the Rock The Bells like last year. And just talking about how we first started and going back to those memories. Theres a lot of that. And its ill to see other people talk about you too. So, thats crazy. So did that help that one? Lets fix the next one.
DX: Yeah, that definitely helped with it. Well this one is I know you probably been asked a thousand times today [about this subject], but the phife = good tribe = no, just confirming that theres not gonna be a Tribe album I know is gonna irritate the reader. They wanna know why theres not gonna be a Tribe album.
Q-Tip: I mean, theres not gonna be a Tribe album because weve already said basically everything that we had to say on record. And, we dont wanna disrupt what little good we did so far. And people get so hung up sometimes, or pent up, with what Tribe does and Tribe activity that wed just rather leave it where it is. Maybe do shows here and there, or you know, have this documentary come out and well be good that way.
DX: Are Phife and Ali in agreeance with that? Is that just your perspective?
Q-Tip: This [isnt] just my perspective; its all of [us]. Everybody feels that way. But if we had the opportunity, or if the opportunities may have been different from Jive [Records] if they had taken care of us, and taken care of the contracts then maybe we would recant that [retirement declaration] and maybe it would make us dust it off and make us reconsider. But right now thats where its at.
DX: And can you flesh out for me a little bit with [regards to] the Kamaal The Abstract album? They sent me a press release saying the whole albums been remixed, is that true?
Q-Tip: No, thats not true. Its the album in its original setting. And its probably two extra songs on there that we found out of the sessions. But its pretty much intact from what it was originally intended to be.
DX: So why release that now? Why seven years later, why not just leave that in the archives?
Q-Tip: Because people wanted to hear it. People were finding out about it and hearing it and talking about it and asking when its gonna be released. And because the people insisted that led me to investigating more [about obtaining the rights to the album], and good thing I did. Struck up a okay deal [with Battery/Red/Sony to release it], and here we are.
DX: And, the Michael Jackson stuff Im just curious, especially with the remix albumlike I wanna hear somebody remix [The Jacksons'] Blues Away, or Give It Up from the Triumph album. Do you know which record you want to do yet?
Q-Tip: Well the thing is, is that this is a Motown thing, [and] those [songs] are Sony masters. So everybody basically has to [remix Michael Jacksons recordings for Motown]. Shit, I was trying to do Honey Love [from The Jackson 5s Moving Violation] and Get It Together [from The Jackson 5s G.I.T.: Get It Together] and shit like that thats rarely seen or heard. But, its hard to find those masters, so
DX: And can you give us any like just the MJ celebration, you said itsyou deejaying and playing music
Q-Tip: Yeah, its gonna be just us playing music, [and] were gonna have some of [The Jackson 5s] memorabilia from back in the days, like some of their outfits and shit there on display, some different promotional items that they used to promote a couple of those albums on display, some old footage, a cool sound system, just everybody jammin and celebrating his life.
DX: And, industry rules!! the book!, is it just gonna be about the industry, about the business, or is it gonna be your personal life or?
Q-Tip: Its gonna be about my experience with the business, and the things that I went through up to this point, and my views and perspectives on itjust a kinda satirical overview of that. It should be good. The tricky part is just finding the right person to collaborate with.
DX: Well I can write it in tweets. [Laughs]
Q-Tip: You can write it in tweets? [Laughs] Thatll be hot. A book in tweets, thatll be a first. [Laughs]
DX: You cool to do some more new tweets or?
Q-Tip: Go head.
DX: Some of it does sound like hatin, but thats why I wanted you to flesh these out. And this is another one: ok so my question is... why do rappers say they retire so much?? especially these young, talented m.c.'s.. explain [5:06 AM Mar 17th].
Q-Tip: I just felt like these cats have so much promise some of em that whoever have said that [about retiring] in the past, I feel those are the ones who really have that great promise and great outlook and seem to really have it good, and then just get frustrated without even putting their first record out and say that theyve retired. I just dont even understand that. It just frustrated me. Like, why deprive us of your talent forever and say youve retired? I could understand sabbaticals and taking time off. Or even if youre a group, I could understand a group disbanding, but still in their own ways as individuals still remaining creative. So when you say youve retired, that means basically that youre not touching it no more, no more music Was that good?
DX: Yeah, thats perfect [Laughs] This is going back a little bit what the is this vibe tourney ranking of m.c.'s??? so corny they need to guap up and let dudes just go in once and for all... [3:03 PM May 14th].
Q-Tip: I was just saying like everybodys coming up with these lists of the best emcees, and the way that VIBE did it was like a tournament, like a competition. And I [was] like, a real thing would be to have a real battle. Get a [inaudible, distorted by traffic noise] and let the top tier emcees just go at it. And then youll have your tournament list. Then youll be able to put the list together. But until then, everybodys opinion about who the best emcee is is sometimes questionable, because a lot of people who are in the business who are coming up with these lists [are] sometimes just doing it for their own reasons. Maybe they haveI don't know, they do it differently, and you cant trust that. I think the best thing is to let the talent speak for itself. It would be dope if there was a purse, and dudes really went in, and there was like no beef. You know, just abattle dudes just air it out and see what happens. But thats not gonna happen, so
DX: This next tweet is real easy, BET is fucking trash!!![11:03 PM Jun 28th]
Q-Tip: [Laughs] See you got me hatin dude. You got me fuckin hatin. I cant do that. But you know what? Ill say this, I tweeted that after I saweverybody [was] expecting them to do a much better job with the whole Michael Jackson [tribute at the 2009 BET Awards] after he passed. And the way that they did it, and just that whole night, the way it was put togetherit just wasnt done right, man. It was embarrassing. And when you say that, you say that because you love BET, you love your people, you really do. And you get frustrated when they continually fall from grace And in the end I was angered and I shouldnt have said it like that So, whatever, Ive learned and grown up from all that [Laughs].
DX: So the next one @Earnest_E fuck radio [5:38 AM Mar 17th] [Laughs].
Q-Tip: Oh here we go. Okay, I cant do that, cause its like Im looking crazy! Its like what are you gonna headline this as? The Angry Q-Tip?
DX: [Laughs] Well heres a nice one, Jadakiss is raw! [10:33 AM May 18th]
Q-Tip: He is. Hes the truth. I think he can talk about [being included in the list of] top emcees, best emcees. I think he's definitely one of em. And he has never really diminished at all. Hes just tried and true. Like, the top notch lyrics, the delivery, the sarcasm, the poignant words, he encompasses so many traits of a real emcee. And he does it in a masterful way.
DX: And lastly, I need you to explain the following [tweets]: @dreamhampton guess what im wearing [9:20 AM Mar 25th], @bigsexy808 im back [2:30 PM Mar 20th], and finally, @Jdubs328 i like fish cakes! [7:43 AM Apr 9th]
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Well, I do remember the I like fish cakes thing because somebody had sent me something about the Kanye [South Park episode], the fish sticks, and they was like, Hmmm Tip, what do you like? Do you like fish sticks? And I was like, No, nigga I like fish cakes. [Laughs] So thats what that was about. And then the dream hampton thing, I dont remember that, that guess what Im wearing, I dont remember what that was in reference to. And what was the other one?
DX: I just like the name that it was written to, @bigsexy808 im back. [Laughs]
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Yeah, that is kinda absurd, right?