Tribe's Q-Tip Works To Free Kashmir, Sets Stage For U2 At Tibet Show

June 11 [14:00 EDT] -- While at last weekend's Tibetan Freedom Concert to bring light to the Tibetan people's struggle against Chinese rule, the rapper, the rapper was handing out "Free Kashmir" leaflets and announcing plans for a concert he hopes to stage later this year.

Kashmir, once saluted in a song of that same name by Led Zeppelin, is a remote place wedged in among India, Pakistan, China, and Tibet. It's been the object of a tug-of-war between Pakistan and India since it gained its independence from England in 1947. India's army now occupies two-thirds of Kashmir, while Pakistan's controls the other third.

Q-Tip says that over the past 50 years, 40,000 Kashmiris have been jailed without trial. Q-Tip's belief in that cause and his feelings about Tibet's plight may have been the driving force behind the group's slamming set. Tribe was handed the unenviable task of playing right before U2, and more than held their own.

With two stages set-up side by side, there

was virtually no down time between sets, making for a series of rapid fire one-two combinations featuring odd musical pairings like Noel Gallagher opening for Sonic Youth, Foo Fighters leading into KRS-One, and Alanis Morissette immediately preceding Björk.

While many in the crowd Saturday were eagerly anticipating a set from a stripped-down U2, Tribe managed to grab the masses and send them jumping in unison to chest-rattling beats. A sea of hands answered Q-Tip's call to "push 'em up," and his calls of "can you kick it?" were met with shouts of "yes we can" from the thumping crowd. While many in the crowd had already staked out their spots near the stage U2 was to take later, many more were drawn to the adjoining stage by a Tribe set list that placed classics like "Scenario" next to newer tracks like "Phony Rappers."

By the time Tribe was ready to relinquish its hold on the audience, the question was no longer "How will they precede U2?," but rather, "How will U2

follow them?"