A Tribe Called Quest’s Jarobi White Talks Eats, Rhymes & Life

Jarobi WhiteJarobi White’s renown as one of the founding members of the legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest is often overlooked. After the release of People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, the group’s 1990 debut album, White was only occasionally mentioned, and his appearances and performances with the group were even rarer.

Despite long-time references as A Tribe Called Quest’s “mysterious member,” all has been well for the rap veteran; via education and training at the New York Institute of Technology, instead of a full-time life as a performer on stage, White has carved out a very successful career as a chef. “Chefs are the new rock stars now, anyway,” he says.

In addition to his 20-plus years in the culinary game, White founded Eats, Rhymes and Life, the ultimate “collaborative musical and culinary experience” for fans everywhere. BlackDoctor.org recently spoke with Chef Jarobi about the cultural history of combining music and food, what’s next for the brand, and the diabetes-related death of his friend and A Tribe Called Quest bandmate, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor.

BlackDoctor.org: Your path to becoming a professional chef wasn’t exactly overnight. In fact, your interest in cooking began when you were very young. As the years rolled on, at what moment did you begin to take the possibility of a culinary career seriously?

 Jarobi White: I’ve always taken it seriously because it’s something I love to do. I can’t really put music and cooking in front of each other—I’ve always loved both.

BlackDoctor.org: At its core, Eats, Rhymes and Life is centered on the symbiotic relationship between music and food. Given that they both are deeply rooted in Black culture, what does this mean to you?

Jarobi White: When you have both a dining and a musical experience, they tie together—they evoke memories and emotions. I think that’s why they go hand in hand so well.