Utter the words A Tribe Called Quest in hip-hop circles, and you’re bound to draw appreciative murmurs and deferential nods.

The highly-touted, platinum-selling hip-hop group made up of MCs Q-Tip and Phife Dawg and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad slinked coolly into the burgeoning 80s hip-hop scene with their eclectic jazz-and-funk-infused rap rhythms, and the sound of hip-hop would never be the same since. Just ask Kanye, Pharrell,Ludacris, Outkast, and The Roots—all self-confessed fans of ATCQ.

With ATCQ’s name casting such a tremendous shadow over each of its members, it’s easy to assume that they could never measure up to the group’s iconic stature once they set out on their own after the group’s split in 1998. But Ali Shaheed Muhammad begs to differ: whether as a solo DJ, rapper, or producer, he’s doing ATCQ’s legacy every bit of justice.

Practically a kid when he formed ATCQ at 15 years old, Ali has since honed his smarts to become a production whiz. Together with Q-Tip and Jaydee, Ali put up production company The Ummah in 1995. His post-ATCQ output also sees him working with Faith EvansMos Def, and D’Angelo. He later teamed up with En Vogue’s Dawn Robinson and Tony! Toni! Tone!’s Raphael Saadiq to form the supergroup Lucy Pearl.

Ali boasts four Grammy nominations to his name: two as a member of ATCQ, one as part of Lucy Pearl, and another one for his work with D’Angelo.

Ali released his solo debut album Shaheedullah and Stereotypes in 2004, which features the song “All Night”. Hit play on the videos below for a sampling of Ali Shaheed’s beats with ATCQ, Lucy Pearl, and as a solo act.

See for yourself what makes Ali Shaheed Muhammad a hip-hop heavyweight as he takes the stage at theManila Music Festival on May 1 at the Alphaland Bay City, Paranaque City.
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