February 24, 2024

Q-Tip has signed on as the music producer and co-lyricist to the creative team for the upcoming musical “Ali,” based on the life of the famed heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.

“Ali” will premiere in fall 2024 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, with plans to bring the production to Broadway at some point in 2025. The rapper-producer joins the production alongside a collective comprised of lead producer Richard Willis, composer Teddy Abrams, director and author Clint Dyer, associate music producer Casey Benjamin, and music supervisor Sean Mayes.

Muhammad Ali has been an inspiration for me my entire life,” said Q-Tip. “I look forward to working with Teddy, Clint, Casey, Sean, and the entire creative team in telling the great man’s story in this form.”

In 2017, Abrams, who is music director of the Louisville Orchestra, initially wrote what’s described as a “multimedia opera-rap-oratorio mashup” entitled “The Greatest: Muhammad Ali,” which premiered at the Kentucky Center. That led to Abrams and the creative team exploring the idea of a Broadway musical about the boxer’s life.

Q-Tip, who got his start in music as a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, has been highly selective of which project he chooses over the years. He last put out an album as part of Tribe in 2016 with “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service,” and promised three solo albums in 2020 including “The Last Zulu” which he has been teasing since 2013.

“We are beyond delighted and grateful to have the living legend, Q-Tip, join this extraordinary creative team on ‘Ali,’” said Willis. “Q-Tip’s artistry, knowledge and experience is unmatched. If that wasn’t enough, to also have the incredible Casey Benjamin and brilliant Sean Mayes joining the team makes this all feel a bit surreal yet fitting for The Greatest.”

“I am thrilled to be working with Q-Tip, who is one of my music heroes and the perfect person to join us in telling Muhammad Ali’s story, as well as the uber-talented Casey and Sean,” said Dyer. “Q-Tip is most definitely one of Hip-Hop’s biggest artists and a great collaborator/producer. Co-writing the lyrics for ‘Ali’ with him will be an honor.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Q-Tip, Casey, and Sean join the music team,” added Adams. “They are all world-class talents with tremendous musical vision and knowledge; they are already bringing exceptional energy and inspiration to the musical!”

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