Q-Tip (born Jonathan Davis on November 20, 1970 in New York City), is an American rapper, actor, and record producer, and is the former leader of the group A Tribe Called Quest, from which he was also known as “Abstract”. He converted to Islam in the mid-1990s, and changed his name to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed. The Q in Q-Tip’s stage name stands for Queens, the borough of New York City from which he hails. It is also said to be a name that represents his ability to get into one’s ears. He also refers to himself as The Abstract (originally The Abstract Poetic) and Kamaal the Abstract.
Q-Tip’s first appearance on record was on the Jungle Brothers’ Straight Out the Jungle. Besides performing with his popular and successful jazz-influenced hip hop group, Tip also did production work (under his production alias “the Abstract” or often — along with fellow Tribe member Ali Shaheed Muhammad and the late Slum Village member Jay Dee — as part of the Ummah) for artists such as Nas (“One Love,” from Illmatic, 1994), Mobb Deep (co-producer on “Give up the Goods (Just Step),” “Temperature’s Rising,” and “Drink Away the Pain,” from The Infamous, 1995) and even R&B divas Mariah Carey (“Honey,” from Butterfly, 1997) and Whitney Houston (“Fine,” from Greatest Hits).
A Tribe Called Quest disbanded in 1998, after which Q-Tip pursued a solo career. His first solo singles, “Vivrant Thing” and “Breathe & Stop,” were far more pop-oriented than anything he had done in A Tribe Called Quest, as was his solo debut LP for Arista Records, Amplified.