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A Tribe Called Quest's farewell gig was a triumphant tribute to Phife Dawg

By Sarah Carson | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-30 07:56

Since 1985, A Tribe Called Quest have been pioneers of alternative hip-hop, combining playful poetry with searing social commentary and funky, infectious electronic melodies. Since splintering in 1998, the group came together for a handful of reunion gigs, but didn't release any new albums until last year.

After that long wait, their sixth and final record, We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service, was a fantastic demonstration that they were still as sharp and fresh as the pretenders for whom they paved the way - and was certainly no nostalgia project. But founding member MC Phife Dawg died suddenly before its completion, at just 45 years old, from complications relating to diabetes. Since then, surviving members Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White have warned that they would be playing their last shows, ending with a jubilant performance at Bestival last night.

The group's East Coast hip-hop is firmly rooted in black working-class American life, a world that couldn't seem further from Lulworth Castle in Dorset (Bestival's new home, having relocated from the Isle of Wight). The festival attracts a young crowd, many of whom wouldn't have been born when Tribe were in their Nineties heyday, which makes it an odd choice for their last gig.

A Tribe Called Quest's farewell gig was a triumphant tribute to Phife Dawg

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