Fists in the air in the name of resistance, A Tribe Called Quest joined Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, and Consequence for a politically-charged performance at the Grammys on Sunday (Feb. 12).
Dressed in all black, Q-Tip kicked off the set with an impassioned speech about power and representation. “To all of those people around the world,” he said, “all of those people who are pushing people who are in power to represent them, tonight, we represent you. And we also dedicate this to our brother who’s not here, Phife Dawg.”
From there, Tip, Jarobi, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad began a rendition of their 1993 classic “Award Tour” off Midnight Marauders with the intro from “Can I Kick It” off 1990’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.
Anderson joined the group behind his drum set, where he blended “Come Down” off last year’s Malibu with “Movin Backwards” off Tribe’s 2016 album, We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your service, which .Paak also appeared on.
That’s when Busta emerged with something to get off his chest. “I’m not feeling the political climate right now,” he told Consequence. “I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating all through the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for an unsuccessful attempt at a Muslim Ban…We come together, we the people!”
With that, the group of MCs launched into “We the People…” off Tribe’s latest LP. During the performance of the socially-conscious cut, men and women of various ages and races walked from the crowd onto the stage. “All you black folks, you must go,” the group chanted with fists in the air. “All you Mexicans, you must go / And all you poor folks, you must go / Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways / So all you bad folks, you must go.”
Busta’s “President Agent Orange” comment and the hook for “We the People…” seem to allude to President Donald Trump’s statements regarding immigrants and his recent immigration ban controversy. During a presidential debate last year, he noted: “We have some bad, bad people in this country…We have some bad hombres here and we’re gonna get ’em out.”
Stars like Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Rihanna were among those in the crowd, dancing along to the protest anthem. Q-Tip ended the set with repeated chants to “resist,” a rallying cry that many anti Trump protesters have been using since he won the presidential election last year.