Elton John declares A Tribe Called Quest the “seminal hip-hop band of all-time” in a new interview with Q-Tip on the singer’s radio show, Rocket Hour. The latest episode premieres Thursday, March 21st at 1:00 p.m. ET on Apple Music’s Beats 1.
John introduces Q-Tip, the Tribe emcee-producer, as “amazing” and “a legend in music,” noting his admiration for the innovative, jazz-influenced Nineties rap group. “If you don’t know A Tribe Called Quest, you’re stupid,” he said. “But if you listen to [‘Electric Relaxation’], you’ll understand why I rave about them.” The “Rocket Man” singer also called that song, a highlight from 1993’s Midnight Marauders, “one of [his] favorite tracks” from that year, describing the group as “laid back [but] funky.”
“Can I just say something? I really pinch myself when you say that something that I did is a favorite track,” Q-Tip replied. “I’m just like still kind of like, ‘Am I dreaming?’ I feel like I’m in a different universe.”
John also discussed his cameo from the sixth and final Tribe record, 2016’s We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service — a vocal and piano spot on the track “Solid Wall of Sound,” which also includes the acoustic guitar and vocals of Jack White. “I was so happy to play that,” he gushed. “That’s where we first met you came to London, and we did a track in the studio, and it was such a huge honor for me. I was so excited. I just absolutely love this. This is such a takedown of what’s going on … That is such a great track. The album is a fantastic record. If you’re gonna bow out with a record, you better do something like that.”
“Thank you so much for being a part of our last record,” Q-Tip replied. “It meant so much to me. And just how everything ended.” John noted that he wants to play and sing on “more stuff” with the rapper: “I’d love to do something with you,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear some new stuff from you and what you’re producing. You’re brilliant. I love you. You are the best.”
In addition to the mutual praise, the duo also chatted about John recording with John Lennon in the 1970s and Q-Tip meeting Little Richard for the first time in 1988; the rapper also teased that he’s working on three upcoming solo LPs and a collaboration with Mary J. Blige.