Thousands of dollars worth of vinyl records and a home-recording studio belonging to Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest were destroyed in a fire Saturday morning that drove the rapper and two other people from his Englewood, N.J., townhouse.
Englewood Fire Department Lt. John McLoughlin said the fire was reported at 8:45 a.m. and began on the ground floor of the three-story townhouse, where Q-Tip kept his extensive record collection and home studio. The fire, which is not believed to be suspicious, is currently under investigation.
The 27-year-old Q-Tip, born Jon Davis but who now goes by the Muslim
name Kamaal Fareed, was not injured in the blaze nor were the two people inside the house with him, said McLoughlin, who added that he did not know the identities of the two houseguests.
A Jive Records spokeswoman said neither Q-Tip nor A Tribe Called Quest's manager would comment on the fire. The manager did not return phone calls Monday. Q-Tip and his rapmates Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife, a.k.a. Malik Taylor, both 27, will release their highly anticipated fifth album, The Love Movement, in late May.
The ground breaking hip-hop group's latest work has love as its theme. "We do music for love," Q-Tip said in a recent interview with Addicted To Noise, "and I think a lot of people do different things for love. I think we need to get back to that emotion."
Characterizing the fire as "heavy," McLoughlin said that the fire department had it under control in about an hour. Structurally, the house was saved, he said, but heat and smoke damage ruined most or all of the possessions in the home. He said there has not yet been a cost estimate of the damage.
Three firefighters were hurt while battling the fire, McLoughlin said. One sustained minor burns, another sustained a minor back injury and a third suffered a minor eye injury. -- Jim Glauner [Mon., Feb. 9, 1998, 6:30 p.m. PST]