A Tribe Called Quest was a rap group that was popular in the early 90's. the success of the Tribe was probably due to the fact that they had an easy-going intellectual vibe while never abandoning the street feel of hip-hop.
Q-Tip and Phife Dawg made their first appearence on the De La Soul song "Buddy" along with the Jungle Brothers. The three groups made up the core of the loose knit rap collective known as the Native Tongues. When their first album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm was released in 1990, while Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammed were still in their late teens, it generated an underground following, but was not an immediate commercial success.
The second album, the Low End Theory was released the next year, and further solidified the Tribe's reputation for having interesting, jazzy music and intellectual lyrics. It also had the popular posse cut with the Leaders of the New School, "Scenario", featuring a famous verse by Busta Rhymes. This album also brought the Tribe more mainstream success.
The third album, Midnight Marauders, released in 1993 had a slightly more dark feel, but the music is some of the most soulful I have heard from any rap group.
In the years between Midnight Marauders and the 1996 album, Beats, Rhymes and Life, Q-Tip accepted orthodox Islam as a way of life. The 1996 album was heavily flavored by his new found way of looking at life, but (to me) at least, was not as enjoyable and clever as earlier albums. Also, the music always gave me a headache for some reason. However, it remains the Tribe's most succesful commercial album.
After becoming a Muslim, Q-Tip suddenly switched courses in life and became more interested in women then anything else. The 5th and final album The Love Movement, was not as well received as earlier albums, and from what I have heard of it, it was not as good.
After this, the Tribe broke up and went their seperate ways. Q-Tip seems to have totally lost the spark he had while younger, and now seems like a sleazy lounge singer.
Whereever they are now, the influence of the Tribe on artists from the Roots to Black Star to the Wu-Tang Clan has been considerable.