For most his highly controversial and endlessly discussed Yeezus tour, Kanye West has brought breakout L.A. rapper Kendrick Lamar as his opening act. But for a handful of dates in the New York area, West teamed up with hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest as the show’s opening act, with the events compounded by the drama of ATCQ leader Q-Tip announcing that the shows would be the last they’d ever play together.
While the shows generated lots of love for A Tribe Called Quest (and attracted a cavalcade of stars, including Dave Chappelle and Jack White), the union seems to have borne some interesting fruit. According to a recent interview, Q-Tip casually mention that he along with hip-hop pioneer Rick Rubin (who helped West shape Yeezus) will team up to produce Kanye West’s next album.
The revelation came during a sit-down with esteemed music journalist Elliott Wilson backstage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where the two chopped it up about hopping on the Yeezus tour and A Tribe Called Quest’s legacy, among other subjects (we also learn that Q-Tip does a great impersonation of Busta Rhymes).
“I’m producing Kanye’s new album with Rick Rubin, that’s coming up” Q-Tip announced when asked what’s on his itinerary before he follows up the outstanding 2008 full-length, The Renaissance, with his next studio record, tentatively entitled The Last Zulu (Kamaal/The Abstract, released in 2009, was actually a shelved 2001 project finally seeing the light of day).
The rapper/producer didn’t offer any more details regarding the startling announcement, but given both his and Rick Rubin’s production track record, it would make for one of the most intriguing and anticipated releases of any given year in music.
While only time will reveal whether this veritable hip-hop super-group will indeed come to fruition, Kanye West continues to march across America on the Yeezus tour, stopping to deliver diatribes at radio interviews along the way.
One of the more eye-opening nuggets of information to come from West’s current press tour (to sneaker fetishists, anyway) was the rapper announcing that he was severing ties with Nike (where he designed two enormously successful Yeezy shoes) to sign a deal with Adidas to produce a clothing line expected to hit retailers next year.
“For 2014, we welcome to the Adidas family one of the most influential cultural icons of this generation, Kanye West,” reads a press release from Adidas (via Billboard). “Well known for breaking boundaries across music, film and design and partnering with our history in street wear culture and leading innovations in sport, we look forward to creating a new chapter. Details to follow.”