Phife Dawg1985-1998, 2006-2016
Ali Shaheed Muhammad1985-2017
Jarobi White1988-1990, 2006-2017
The group is one of the seminal hip-hop acts of their era, but when A Tribe Called Quest first came out, several critics bashed them for not being catchy enough. In his review of ATCQ's first album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, one Rolling Stone writer called the disc "one of the least danceable rap albums ever" and said it was "impossible to imagine how people would put this music to use."
A Tribe Called Quest founding member Q-Tip lost his home and record collection in 1994. A fire that started at a house party spread he was hosting spread and incinerated his whole pad. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and several of Q-Tip's good friends, such as Pete Rock, helped him rebuild his house and his spirit.
At first, Atlanta rapper T.I. began performing locally under the moniker Tip. Once he began to gain notoriety, he quickly changed his name so that fans wouldn't confuse him with Q-Tip, the founding member and rapper from A Tribe Called Quest. Q-Tip created his stage name by combining "Q" – which stands for Queens, his home borough in New York City – with "Tip," a nickname he earned in high school.
In "Check the Rhime," A Tribe Called Quest reference the speed of former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lou Brock. Although Brock is known for breaking Ty Cobb's record for most stolen bases, he's often criticized for his judgment at the plate. Brock often hit singles and stuck out when he should have been walked. He ranks 55th all-time in doubles and is #13 on the list of players who have struck out the most over the course of their careers. Nevertheless, Brock's speed once on base is undeniable and he was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1985.
Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman is married to country star Keith Urban, but in the early 2000s, she had a fling with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. In 2003, Q-Tip admitted to an American radio station that he'd slept with the Oscar-winning actress. Before her marriage, Kidman was also romantically linked to Sherlock Holmes actor Jude Law as well as rocker Lenny Kravitz.
A Tribe Called Quest founding member Phife Dawg was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990 and struggled with the condition ever since. In 2010, the rapper told The Urban Daily that the condition was hereditary (his mother had diabetes) and that it was made worse by ATCQ's busy touring schedule which caused him to eat too much fast food. Phife Dawg's kidneys began to fail in 1999 and he started dialysis in 2004. Eventually, his wife donated a kidney to him and he regained control over his diabetes before A Tribe Called Quest's reunion in 2008. Phife passed away in 2016 at age 45.
A Tribe Called Quest founding member Jarobi White left the group after their first album to pursue a career as a chef. In August 2011, White explained that his decision to leave ATCQ was partly due to money. When the group's first album sold over 800,000 copies, the four members were forced to split only $80,000 of royalties equally. White concluded that he needed to not only get away from New York City (which he called "racist" and "oppressive") but also that he needed a better source of income to fall back on. The rapper moved to Washington D.C. and since been considered an occasional member of A Tribe Called Quest.