For the most part, hip-hop music has always been a very competitive genre, built on battle rhymes, disses on wax, beefs and who had the biggest first week sales numbers.
While this competitive element has often led people to view hip-hop as unnecessarily violent and aggressive, it usually results in one thing; better music for the listeners.
When you think about N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest, you think of two seminal on complete opposite ends of the spectrum; one group was a driving force in gangsta rap while the other group were pioneers in alternative hip-hop.
However according to Q-Tip, the two groups built a lot on each other’s work, with A Tribe Called Quest using N.W.A.’s debut album as inspiration for their sophomore album.
“It was listening to N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton that inspired us to make The Low End Theory,” Q-Tip said in an interview with MTV. “Years later I spoke to Dr. Dre and he told me that hearing The Low End Theory inspired him to make The Chronic. That’s what music does.”
Q-Tip: It was Dre, it was when I heard Straight Outta Compton. I was just like, “Wow!” And I remember driving with Ali, I was like, “Yo, we gotta make some shit like this.” Like, to hear that shit? And we were kind of like one of the few people riding around New York listening to that, like loud, [sings] ”Straight outta Compton.” You know what I mean? All that shit. It was just like, the energy of it, and they were dealing with dynamics as well and it was frenetic but Dre is such a master the way that it was laid out. He took what PE was kind of doing but he got to that whole Bomb Squad mentality a little bit before. And, the tapestry that he laid out for those things, it was just, still to this day, I just get chills. And I say this in a great way, but after you hear all the frills, the musical frills of that album, the sections and the rhymes, the interplay between the MCs, between [Ice] Cube and Eazy and the scratches, after you hear all of that when it’s off what resonated was just that bottom, that bass and the drive of it. I was like, “Yo, we got like some shit, B, but still maintain our thing,” you know? So that was a big contributing factor.Q-Tip | Red Bull Music Academy