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Arts and Entertainment

A Tribe Called Quest @ The Wiltern 9/10

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I had the misfortune to show up late to see Beastie Boys at Hammerstien Ballroom in NYC in '98 where A Tribe Called Quest was opening and apparently playing their last NYC show. So, i jumped at the opportunity to see them at the Wiltern last Sunday night, where Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheeh Muhammad reunited after 8 years apart.

Playing third, Tribe's set lasted an hour, which I heard a lot of fans bitching about afterward. I'm wondering if the short set was because the second act, Rhymefest (co-writer and Grammy winner for the Kanye West song "Jesus Walks with Me"), who took forever, spending most of his time demanding respect from the audience and signing his shoes and throwing them into the crowd (Yawn).

Whatever the reason, Tribe played really only a handful of songs, and snippets at that. They did bring Jarobi White out, which was a nice treat. The three Emcees did a beatbox break, which had everyone's heads bobbing enthusiastically. The sound for Tribe's set was really nicely mixed and each lyric could be heard with crystal clarity. It was a good show, but I just came away wanting more. Hopefully, we'll be getting more.

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The highlight of the night for me was the opening act, a band of, again, 3 Emcees (Stro, Rez and Mr. J.) and a DJ (DJ Vajra), called The Procussions. On newly reformed Rawkus Records, they are the champions of "underground" hiphop, The Procussions are full of energy, wit, anger and excitement. Representing the true "underground" sound of hip-hop with songs not about bling and hos, but about the struggles and frustrations of real life: songs with a political conscience and point of view. It's hard not to compare Mr. J. to Adrock of Beastie Boys, with his playful demeanor and frenetic energy. The band meshes perfectly together and you can't help but wish you were up there playing with them on stage.

They ended their set by thanking the audience for listening to and supporting underground hip. Personally, I call what The Procussions are doing "hip hop", not "underground hip hop". That other stuff? It's called pop.

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