There’s a musical based on the life and achievements of boxing legend Muhammad Ali on its way to Broadway in fall 2024, and one of the artists tapped to work on the music for the stage play is none other than rapper, producer, songwriter and Hip-Hop legend Q-Tip.
According to Deadline, Richard Willis, the lead producer of the musical titled Ali, signed Q-Tip, whose real name is Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, as the play’s music producer, co-lyricist and cast album producer. Besides being part of the team that brings to melodic life the story of arguably the greatest boxer in history, Q-Tip gets the privilege of working alongside director, author and deputy artistic director of UK’s National Theatre Clint Dyer, who directed Othello as well as Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical. The “Vivrant Thing” rapper will also work with the show’s composer Teddy Abrams, whose past work bringing music and Ali’s legacy together inspired the new production.
Back in 2017, Abrams wrote multimedia opera-rap-oratorio mashup The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, which premiered with the Louisville Orchestra at the Kentucky Center in Louisville.
That production got Abrams, and others, thinking that there should be a full-scale Broadway musical about the pivotal historical figure who transcended his sporting achievements.
“I am very excited to be collaborating with Teddy, Clint, Casey and Sean in telling The Greatest’s story on stage,” Q-Tip told Deadline. “Muhammad Ali has always been a hero to me!”
And the show’s producer is just as excited to have the A Tribe Called Quest veteran on board.
“We want to take the traditional musical theater structure that works and then tip it on its ear a little bit,” Willis said. “Q-Tip produces songs and albums for a massive audience so he knows how to do that thing that’s slightly different than what normal musical theater is. So we tip it, and make it original and fresh and new and hummable. All that energy in the right direction is the job, right?”
“Q-Tip has proven himself as one of the greatest Hip-Hop artists of his generation and beyond,” he said. “Having his talents onboard will give this musical every possibility to honor Ali’s greatness. I could not be happier with this appointment.”
“We’ll use his Hip-Hop beats, and his talents will be used in other areas as well,” Dyer continued. “This show’s covering a lot of areas of music and we’ll exhaust all of Q-Tip’s knowledge. You’ve got to remember that Q-Tip’s into all kinds of music, not just jazz and Hip-Hop. For instance, his next album is all rock ‘n’ roll, so hold on. Let’s see what he comes up with for Ali!”
Actually, back in 2020, Q-Tip teased the future releases of three new albums, but as of now, his last solo studio album is still 2009’s Kamaal The Abstract. So, it looks like Dyer might know something we don’t. Either way, it’s always great to see Q-Tip out here doing big things as both a solo artist and collaborator. Salute!
Q-Tip Tapped As Music Producer For Muhammad Ali Broadway Musical was originally published on hiphopwired.com
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