A Tribe Called Quest have delivered an incredible one-two punch.
On Friday, the legendary hip-hop group released its first album in nearly two decades in We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service (stream it), an acerbic and important effort that both reflects modern times and struggles but also stands as one of the finest records of 2016. The next night, they crashed Saturday Night Live to perform two cuts off the album, and did so with a fist raised in the air, veteran lyrical flow and poise, and a tribute to fallen co-founder Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, who died in March.
Before Tribe blasted into the thought-provoking “We The People…”, Q-Tip announced: “We are all one. We are people.” Midway through the performance, as Phife Dawg’s recorded bars were blasted out, a giant banner unfurled with his likeness and blanketed the back of the stage.
Both Q-Tip and Jarobi White rapped to it like the trio of MCs were back together once more.
Later in the show, Tribe returned to perform “The Space Program” with Busta Rhymes and Consequence, and Jarobi wore a shirt with PHIFE scrawled across the front.
It was a powerful display for a group on the comeback, and one who it not only seemed was here all along, but one we need now more than ever.