Casting Call: A Tribe Called Quest

Published January 13, 2014

In which we suggest who would star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

As we mentioned last week, we never get tired of biopics of golden-age, boom box hip-hop stars. This next project is particularly exciting: Leonardo DiCaprio, Q-Tip, and Jonah Hill are joining together to produce a television series based on Tip’s career with A Tribe Called Quest. If this trio seems strange to you, it shouldn’t. Q-Tip and DiCaprio have been friends since the ’90s, and DiCaprio even interviewed Tip for our April 2008 issue.

The project is still in its early stages, with no network or cast attached and no fixed production date. In effort to speed up the process, we’d like to suggest a network (Netflix!) and six potential stars.

First, however, a little background on the band. A Tribe Called Quest was formed in St. Albans, Queens, New York, around 1985 by Q-Tip, his high school classmate, aspiring DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and childhood church friend Phife Dawg. Jarobi White also joined the group, though no one is really sure in what capacity (the official A Tribe Called Quest website refers to him as “the honorary member of ATCQ, [who,] though not always heard, was a fixture of the group in heart and in friendship”).

Originally known as Quest, ATCQ were renamed by their high school friends and frequent collaborators The Jungle Brothers. With the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Common, Mos Def, Queen Latifah and others, Q-Tip and co. became part of a larger collective known as “The Native Tongues,” sort of like today’s hip-hop collectives of Odd Future, Brick Squad, and A$AP Mob, but with an actual social conscious. (A Tribe Called Quest wrote songs condemning date rape and domestic abuse; Odd Future… did not.) The group released their first album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, in 1990, and their fifth and last album, The Love Theory, in 1998. As with most bands, the end of ATCQ was a bitter one. For more information, we recommend Michael Rappaport’s 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes, & Life.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.