Although Q-Tip has flirted with African drum samples and loops since the early inception of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest, but the New York City native has discovered an even deeper connection to the great continent of Africa. Sitting down with OkayAfrica in their latest “The Roots of” series, the eternally youthful Abstract Poetic playfully lobbed verbal jabs at the cameras while swabbing the inside of his cheek to collect DNA to be tested by genealogy experts African Ancestry.
Revealing his mother’s Alabama roots and his father’s West Indian heritage during the clip, Q-Tip seemed eager to learn more about his lineage. “I really want to know about where my people come from because I feel like it just answers a lot of questions for me,” shared Tip. “You know, just a bunch of generational, psychological things that could be answered as well. It’s a lot of intrigue for me.”
Stating that he’s never been to Africa, Tip rattled off a few guesses as to where his maternal roots stem from. However, the moment of truth revealed that he was a bit off with his geography. After a two month process, Q-Tip sat with Gina Paige of African Ancestry for the big reveal—once again stating his furthest knowledge of his roots were in Alabama. Tip learned his roots are connected with the Jola tribe—no pun intended—in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau.
Q-Tip was further surprised after Paige introduced the rapper to Sana Ndiaye, a native from his newly discovered homeland that has mastered the Jola tribe’s banjo-like instrument, the akonting.
Could Q-Tip rename his crew A Tribe Called Jola in the near future?