It’s that time of year again: Summer Music Festival Time! That’s right. The Sun has moved closer to the Earth, allowing us Midwesterners to shed our parkas and seek the outdoors. Summer Music Festival Time in the Midwest consists of a number of galas, but few hold a candle to the quality entertainment provided by Pitchfork Music Festival.
Since 2006, the Chicago based festival has provided the masses with a diverse line-up of quality entertainment and this year is guaranteed to be more of the same. Of the 41 bands playing over the 3 day fest, this attendee is most interested in seeing A Tribe Called Quest.
ATCQ is currently on tour promoting their 7th album – We’ve Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service. The album not only is ATCQ’s first in nearly 20 years, but also bares the substantial weight of being released after founding member Phife Dawg’s death.
Although Phife’s voice is strong throughout the album, Tribe’s live shows have taken on a new incarnation without his physical presence on stage. During Phife’s bars, the other two members, Q Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, often pay homage to their late partner by projecting his image onto large screens. These tributes invoke a sense that the show is not just merely a hip hop show, but a conduit for the surviving members to commune with their deceased brother.
Beyond that, ATCQ’s performance also serves the purpose of educating the hordes of younger festival goers. It may be difficult for lovers of classic hip hop to believe, but there is a large population of Millennials that aren’t aware of ATCQ, let alone their place in musical history. Although many other hip hop acts performing may consider themselves directly influenced by the trio’s sound, their fans may not know of their music.
Tribe’s continued presence gives them the ability to bridge Pitchfork’s diverse age gap. In a time when so many early architects of the rap and hip hop’s landscape seem to be fading away, A Tribe Called Quest continues to move forward. And though they have lost one of their members to an untimely death, Tribe hasn’t stop producing thoughtful and powerful content.
Catch them while you can, kids. Catch them while you can.