A Tribe Called Quest played Saturday Night Live for the first — and presumably last — time on November 12, and they gave us so much more than a phenomenal performance and a touching Phife Dawg tribute. They gave us catharsis.
Hot on the heels of the drop of We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, Tribe’s new album, Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Tribe collaborators Busta Rhymes and Consequence performed two tracks from it for the SNL audience.
Starting with “We the People” — a selection that couldn’t have been more appropriate for its pointed commentary on racism, xenophobia, and hatred given the events of the last week — Q-Tip, Jarobi and Ali took each word to task and were clearly thrilled to be doing so. Tip and Jarobi cleared the stage when it came time for Phife’s bars, making room for the giant portrait of their dearly departed brother to unfurl and holding the mic up to the painting for a verse or two.
Next up was “The Space Program,” which had Busta and Cons leaping out of the audience and onto the stage, a performance that culminated in an emotional group hug between them.
We Got It From Here is out now, and is the sixth and final studio album by A Tribe Called Quest.