Altice: I personally believe hip-hop needs to get back to its roots. Do you agree?
Q-Tip: Yes, it’s always good to come back home, but there is a way you have to do it. You can’t necessarily just hop in a time machine and go back. You have to take things from then and be able to apply it with today’s finesse and vernacular, so that it could be fresh.
Altice: I am thinking along the lines of the rampant materialism that has become so much a part of hip-hop, like “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley,” “Rack City,” etc. It’s not storytelling anymore, it’s about who has the most shit.
Q-Tip: I think it’s also a reflection of the time. I just feel society breeds those things, people are more invested in the individual than the unit. Your status in society more than your moral achievement. These things have become commonplace so when guys are saying “rack city, bitch, rack, rack city, bitch,” or talking about the Benz or Maybach or how many birds they moved and shit (reference to drugs), is just the extension of the psychology of America. When we turn on the TV we see reality TV shows, predominantly women fighting each other, having nonsense arguments, then ones with winning prizes, competitions, one out to be the best, it’s all of this attention put on the individual in high society.
The irony is that as a society we are in the worst economic place we have been for some time and people are out of work, and America’s position in the rest of the world is questionable at times, so we here in America are living this utopia via media outlets, or TV or what have you. These things and these ideas have been perpetrated mostly by hip-hop music and hip-hop artists, and that usually happens because the predominant number of hip-hop artists are black, and they come up in poor neighborhoods where the education system is broken, so they are forced to watch TV and listen to all these things, so it affects their voice.
I think that when they say these things, we need to examine who we are as people. I don’t think there should be a silence to that voice, but there should be the alternative voice as well – a good balance.
Altice: Where do you think the hottest women are?
Q-Tip: Oh, wow…I have been all over – I can’t say there is one place, but Sweden, Brazil, New York, Houston…
Altice: What was the New York club scene like when you came up, as opposed to now?
Q-Tip: It was plentiful, more places to go, laws were not as restricted. The World, Roxy, Funhouse, The Garage, Cuando, Palladium, Club 54, The Ritz, you had so many dope clubs back then that it was endless. I used to just love going out, hanging out, every night there was something to do. People really danced back then, they went out dancing, it was fun.
Altice: The first time you saw “Bonita Applebum,” was she dancing?
Q-Tip: [Laughs] Yeah, she was certainly dancing.
Altice: Last question: will we see a show with all the original ATCQ members in the future?
Q-Tip: Performing, you never know, but another album, no.
You just never know, it’s always a possibility.
There it is, folks…I could have listened to him talk all day…about just about anything. But he gave me such a new perspective on the art of DJing: he made me want to stop and check myself and go back to what I love about DJin’. And to remember that it’s not just about where you play and for how many people. It’s about the quality first…and to always keep working…keep pushing and to keep listening.
Q-Tip’s new album, The Last Zulu, will be out on G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam next year.
About the Author
Playmate Summer Altice first graced Playboy magazine pages in 2000. Since then there has been no stopping the multi-talented Altice: actress, model, business owner and for over six years, popular DJ. Much in demand for her Dj skills, Altice currently travels the world playing shows. To book her for your next event please visit summeraltice.com. Make sure to follow her on Twitter @SummerAltice.