16 Label Changes That Shocked The Rap Game

A Tribe Called Quest Leaves Jive

Year: 1999
Original Label: Jive Zomba
New Label: Arista

Why They Left: In 1989, A Tribe Called Quest signed a demo deal with Geffen which produced the five track tape including "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" and "Can I Kick it?" but the demo never led Geffen to offer them a contract. They signed to Jive, which was independent at the time, and went on to release all five albums under the label.

However, prior to the release of The Love Movement, the group announced they had disbanded and the album would be their final project. Certainly internal feuds factored into the group's break up (as detailed in Michael Rapaport's Beats, Rhymes, and Life) but their displeasure with Jive also played a role. Phife was quoted in The Source saying, "It took me a minute to latch on to the business side of things, 'cause it was just a happy-go-lucky time. And then eventually, as time went on, it started to slap me in my face. But as far as record labels, or whoever, they're not gonna do us right." Which sounds like the kind of thing the guys who popularized Industry #4080 would have known from the beginning. 

Career After They Left: A Tribe Called Quest's final album The Love Movement would go on to be nominated for Best Rap Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards. Q-Tip would launch a successful solo career under Violator, and release Amplified. He then went on to Motown/Universal and eventually G.O.O.D. Music. Phife would release solo material, as well, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad would form the supergroup Lucy Pearl and release his solo debut in 2004.

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