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Throughout his career, Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West has worked with some of the biggest names int he world of hip-hop. At one point, he was slated to work with legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest — not just on a song, but as a full-blown group member.

Kanye West
Kanye West | Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

A Tribe Called Quest released their final album in 2016

A Tribe Called Quest burst onto the scene at the turn of the 1990s with their albums People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm and The Low End Theory. The group, which consisted of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jarobi White, and Ali Shaheed Mohammed, continued to release music throughout the 1990s before announcing their breakup in 1998.

In 2016, however, the members reunited to record one more album: We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. The album was released eight months after the death of beloved group member Phife Dawg. He still appears on the album, and it was his last musical release until 2022 when his family released the posthumous album Forever.

Kanye West was supposed to join A Tribe Called Quest for their final album

Rapper Consequence had a longstanding relationship with A Tribe Called Quest: Q-Tip is his cousin, and he appeared throughout the group’s 1996 album Beats, Rhymes, and Life.

Consequence stopped by Drink Champs in July 2022 to talk about music and much more, including A Tribe Called Quest. At one point, he revealed that Kanye West was in the process of joining A Tribe Called Quest as a member when they were recording their final album.

“What many people don’t know is Kanye was, at one point, was supposed to join Tribe for the last album,” he said, clarifying that it was in 2016 after Phife Dawg had died in March of that year. “Because Phife had passed away, Kanye was going to join Tribe.”

West’s uncredited vocals are featured on album track “The Killing Season,” which is the only auditory proof of Ye’s joining the group. “That’s why he’s actually on the ‘Killing Season’ record,” he continued. “So we had really started connecting. I was over here, he was doing what he was doing.”

Consequence confirmed the story to HipHopDX: “Initially after Phife Dawg passed away in March of 2016, there were several conversations and sessions to insert Kanye into A Tribe Called Quest for the final LP, We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service.” 

West wasn’t the only other artist to be on the album. Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, André 3000, Anderson .Paak, Consequence, Yebba, and Busta Rhymes also had vocals on the project. Posthumous verses from Phife Dawg were also featured on the project.


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Kanye released his ‘Pablo’ album that same year

2016 was a big year for Kanye West, even without the potential of him joining one of the biggest groups in hip-hop history. He released his smash album The Life of Pablo in February of that year and embarked on the Saint Pablo Tour.

The Life of Pablo debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.