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Friday, September 18, 2009

Tribe Called Quest Tribute Tonight

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Phife Dawg
  • Phife Dawg

After Q-Tip's masterful set at Outside Lands a few weeks back--one of the best of the fest, and certainly the one which engaged the crowd the most, especially when Phife Dawg emerged as a special guest for one song--I found myself reaching for my A Tribe Called Quest anthology. I hadn't listened to Tribe, as they were popularly known, in years. But there they were, in all their glory: all the seminal 90s favorites, from "Check the Rime" to "Award Tour," to the Dilla-produced "Find a Way."

Besides Tip and Phife's interplay, one of the things which made Tribe so great was their use of obscure samples (like Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay," Towa Tei's "Dubnova," and Weldon Irvine's "We Getting' Down," to name a few). Their veritable musical cornucopia of sounds never settled for the obvious, but instead dug deep into the canon, resulting in truly classic, memorable hip-hop. Which is why the Kev Choice Ensemble is perfectly suited to be the house band for tonight's ATCQ tribute at the Shattuck Down Low. Few other bands, local and otherwise, have the jazz, funk, and soul chops necessary to pull off the intricate arrangements with authentic hip-hop flair, so if you're in the East Bay tonight, that's the blap. What makes the scenario even more enticing is the recent addition of Phife Diggy himself to the bill as host, which makes it seem highly likely he'll grab the microphone and let his words rip.

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Eric Arnold

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