Sometimes it seems like bands can never make up their minds. Groups go on reunion tours without officially reuniting. Others break up only to get back together again. LCD Soundsystem took a five-year hiatus after announcing a permanent break-up, but returned this summer with a new album that hit number one on Billboard. Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest proclaimed earlier this month in Dorset that Bestival Festival would be the group’s last ever performance. However, LL Cool J brought out Q-Tip and Jarobi White to perform “Award Tour” off their 1993 album Midnight Marauders and “Vivrant Thing” at the Meadows Festival on Saturday.
Phife Dawg, the group’s founding member, died on March 22nd, 2016. The five foot-three rapper who has been described as having a “self deprecating swagger,” once referenced the diabetes he was diagnosed with in 1990 with a line from “Oh My God” off Midnight Marauders; “Mr Energetic, who me sound pathetic? / When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?” Phife Dawg’s death after an unsuccessful kidney transplant from his wife shook A Tribe Called Quest to the bone. After it happened, the band began to slowly fold up shop. They declared We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, released in November 2016, their final album. Since, they’ve made references to plans of retirement at multiple performances, citing the loss of their “anchor,” Phife Dawg as the leading reason. The group cancelled two performances at Outside Lands Festival in August, citing “travel issues.” They have also cited “a wave of grief” as a reason for having cancelled a show.
Jarobi White left the group after the release of their debut album in 1990 to pursue cooking. White did not rhyme on the group’s songs, but helped with production and ideas. “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo,” a brainchild of White’s, became a single off of that first album. He’s also been keenly involved in songs, “Push It Along,” “Youthful Expression,” and “Can I Kick It?” among them. He formed evitaN with Dres in the early 2010s and released an album called Speed of Life in 2012. White appeared on seven songs from We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service in 2016. White, Cool J and Q-Tip’s enthusiasm was matched only by their fans.