Refusing to let a fire that ravaged his Englewood, N.J., townhouse and melted his vinyl collection on Feb. 7 get him down, A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip vowed that the crew's upcoming album would not be put on hold because of the blaze.
The 27-year-old artist rapped and spoke briefly about it Thursday night before De La Soul took the stage at Tramps in New York City, declaring that his personal tragedy wouldn't delay the release of A Tribe Called Quest's fifth album, The Love Movement, which is due out in June.
To thunderous applause at a packed house, Q-Tip joined opening act Mos Def on "Body Rock" from the new Mos Def album of the same name -- on which Q-Tip makes a guest appearance. After finishing his part, however, Q-Tip threw in an impromptu couplet about the fire "that burnt down my motherfuckin' home."
Q-Tip -- born Jon Davis, but who now goes by the Muslim name Kamaal Fareed -- was about to exit the stage when he turned around and addressed the audience. "I had a fire that started the other day," he said, referring to the blaze that destroyed his home studio and vinyl record collection that was worth thousands of dollars. "Niggas thought I wasn't even gonna be here, but all of this shit is nothin', as long as you got yourself and your spirit, for real. Realize that shit and be thankful of it."
At that point, he promised the band's upcoming album would not be put on hold as a result of the tragedy.
Then, seeming genuinely jovial and laid-back, Q-Tip and Mos Def broke into a version of "Scenario" from A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory. Q-Tip even did a credible imitation of Busta Rhymes, who raps on the studio track.
The Englewood Fire Department is still investigating the blaze, which began on the ground floor of Q-Tip's three-story home, where his personal studio was located. The 8:45 a.m. blaze, which drove Q-Tip and two other, unidentified occupants from the home but injured none of them, is not considered suspicious. -- Jim Glauner [Fri., Feb. 20, 1998, 2:30 p.m. PST]