With a career that spans across four decades and a legacy that has seen fans of the hip-hop genre call them one of the greatest bands of all time, it’s rather surprising that A Tribe Called Quest have never been honoured with a Grammy Award. Now, following the recent awards ceremony, the group say the Grammys “fucked up” by not giving them recognition.
Having first formed in 1985, A Tribe Called Quest released five albums before splitting in 1998. Following some reunions over the years, the group released their final album, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, in 2016, before announcing their breakup in 2017.
Throughout their entire career, the group have received four Grammy Nominations, including two for Best Rap Album (for 1996’s Beats, Rhymes And Life, and 1998’s The Love Movement), one for Best Rap Performance in 1996, and one in 2011 for the Best Long Form Music Video for their documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest.
However, in a recent interview with Sway Calloway for Sway in the Morning, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and longtime collaborator Consequence revealed they’re rather disappointed with the Grammys’ decision to ignore them.
As Billboard reports, Consequence began the interview by referring back to comments made by A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip, in which he shared an expletive-laden response to the group not being nominated for their final album. “It’s the last fuckin’ Tribe album and y’all n—-s don’t give us no nominations?” Q-Tip said. “Y’all n—-s is corny. Fuck y’all Grammy n—-s. Fuck y’all. I’m tired of biting my tongue all the time and being nice and shit.”
Host Sway Calloway then played a previously recorded conversation with Grammy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam, in which he noted that the group’s performance at the 2017 awards was itself as notable as a nomination.
“There are five records in each category,” Jam said in the interview. “If you were doing a top ten list of albums [A Tribe Called Quest] would probably be in there. The other thing I would say to [Q-Tip] is to remember [ATCQ] was on the Grammys last year. In many ways, that is just as relevant than getting the actual nomination.”
“To say that the group performed and that should be your consolation prize, I think it is very disrespectful to the art that you put forth,” Muhammad responded.
Consequence and Muhammad also expressed their disappointment at the the lack of nominations for the group’s final album, noting that it was in no way an appropriate way to honour the “last effort on Earth” of Phife Dawg, a founding member who passed away in early 2017.
“I want you to understand the magnitude of that,” Consequence requested. “They fucked up…. Anybody that come back 18 years after a hiatus and performs the year before, naturally you would assume that I should have something on my mantle in about 12 months!”
“Just to be honest with y’all,” Consequence admitted, “We all thought we was going home with the statue.”