In tribute to Phife Dawg and his fight against diabetes, a re-united A Tribe Called Quest and a host of other NY heavyweights from the ‘90s came out in support for the Mind.Body.Soul benefit show last night (Jan. 20) at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.
“This is one of those nights that make me rekindle my love for hip-hop,” said actor and event host Michael Rapaport, who’s been working on a Tribe documentary.
Talib Kweli was the first big name to hit the stage, performing his hit “Get By,” among others. Next up was Greg Nice, who arguably had the rowdiest set of the evening, jumping down into the crowd to perform “Dwyck.” A small, but vocal group of fans called out Jeru The Damaja to perform the likes of “D. Original” [watch below] and “Come Clean,” followed by Dres of Black Sheep with a trio of songs, including material from a looming Black Sheep album.
An admittedly nervous Jay Electronica brought Talib Kweli back out for “Just Begun,” performing the song a second time when Mos Def popped up for his verse. Both “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit C” followed, the latter of which the crowd had been clamoring for the entire night.
“If Barack Obama was here, he gotta go before KRS,” said Jay Elect before exiting the stage for The Teacha and Chief Rocka Busy Bee, who played hypeman for “South Bronx” and “Sound of da Police,” among other joints. Termanology and Mr. Cheeks also made quick cameos.
With Ghostface a no-show, Consequence closed out the show, beginning with “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.” He then brought out cousin Q-Tip and the rest of the Tribe to perform some of the group’s classic cuts like “Sucka Nigga,” [watch below] “Oh My God,” [watch below] and “Award Tour.”
This marks the first time Phife has been on stage since undergoing a kidney transplant to help in his ongoing battle with diabetes. The Queens-bred rap vet seemed enthused after getting a chance to rock the crowd. “We witnessed history here on this stage,” Phife said afterward. —Devin Chanda