With A Tribe Called Quest officially in the rearview mirror, it seems that Q-Tip has a lot more time on his hands — and he’s putting it to use. As the engine behind Tribe’s early-90s rise to fame, Q-Tip operated as much behind-the-scenes as a producer as he has as a rapper and it looks like he’s returned to that role with a vengeance. Earlier this year, he executive-produced Danny Brown’s new album Uknowhatimsayin? and in 2020, he’ll be reconnecting with another hip-hop pioneer and Queens native to cook up some new music: LL Cool J.
Don’t call it a comeback; LL may not have been making much new music since 2013’s authentic, but he’s maintained a presence in the entertainment world, hosting the show Lip Sync Battle and starring on NCIS: Los Angeles. In 2017, he was honored by Kennedy Center and in 2018, he became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, it looks like he never lost his passion for his first love, rapping, so earlier this year he signed a new deal with his former label home, Def Jam Records, and announced via Twitter that he had new music on the way.
I just started recording new music produced by my lil bro @QtipTheAbstract 💯💯💯 💯💯💯💯💯
— LLCOOLJ. (@llcoolj) December 30, 2019
“I just started recording new music produced by my lil bro Q-Tip,” he wrote. “I’m putting this new music out on Def Jam.” That’s exciting news for fans of his old-school classics like Radio, Bigger And Deffer, and Mama Said Knock You Out, which all came out via Def Jam in the late ’80s and early ’90s and helped define the nascent direction and sound of hip-hop. Since then, LL has become a pop culture mainstay, including multiple stints hosting the Grammy Awards along with his regular shows. With Q-Tip’s help, he may be able to update his sound yet again and find a way to fit in — and stand out — in the modern rap landscape.