Q-Tip as a producer is truly one of the best—so influential and so under-rated. The way Tribe mixed two, three, or four different samples from different genres and made them into one song is top notch. A lot of musical ideas came from Q-Tip and a lot of the mixing and matching and layering came from Ali Shaheed. It was definitely a collaborative thing, but at the end of the day, from what I’ve gathered, Q-Tip was the mastermind behind it all. He was the visionary.
Of course with TLET you gotta give him props for bringing in Ron Carter to play the double bass. But also just bringing this encyclopedia of musical knowledge that Tip had. He taught us a lot about jazz, and opened up a lot of fans to discover it on their own because of the references on the album. The song “Jazz” itself is a celebration of that music. That influence was a big deal. But for the musicality of MM, I prefer that by a nose because of the intricacy of it.
Some of the samples from MM are just like magic tricks when you discover them. One of my favorite samples is on “Sucka Nigga.” When you hear the Busy Bee and Rodney Cee sample, and realize where that came from, and you hear how it’s slowed up, it’s incredible. It’s just so creative.
We did a whole segment in Beats, Rhymes & Life on the Minnie Riperton sample in “Lyrics To Go” because you couldn’t even hear it. But if they took it out you would definitely miss it. It’s done so seamlessly and it’s right in the pocket.
So for beats, I would have to go with the intricacies and creativity of MM. I would give a little bit of an edge to that. They’re done so well and so layered. It’s really like a collage of sounds.