The last time A Tribe Called Quest was in the spotlight in a major way, a documentary had just come out that told the beautiful story of how the Queens, N.Y., quartet went on to become the iconic hip-hop group known for introducing a new kind of conscious, eclectic rap to the mainstream.
But in the documentary and the ensuing press tour, we saw that the group's leading members, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, were going at it something serious.
It seemed that they fell victim to a lot of the ailments that plague groups: Phife felt that Q-Tip was being treated like Diana Ross, and the remaining members of the groups, the Supremes. That, plus a bunch of other internal problems, led to Q-Tip's insinuation that ATCQ was no more.
So it was beautiful to see the group come together Friday night to perform on The Tonight Show. They were commemorating the 25th anniversary of their debut album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, which is being rereleased.
The show was amazing; they performed "Can I Kick It?" with the Roots playing in the background, and Jimmy Fallon—a hip-hop superfan—was hyped.
But in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Phife confessed that things still aren't well in the ATCQ camp. Q-Tip said a few years back that the group would no longer perform together and that a few shows they did opening up for Kanye West would be their last.
Phife, however, disagrees with that decision.
"I think it is ludicrous that we are not performing together," Phife said. "It's dumb, and I don't agree with it, and we're doing the fans a great injustice by not getting together and rocking, and that's all I can really speak on as far as that goes."
It sounds as if the decision not to perform was Q-Tip's, and since he's sort of the band's lead lyricist (he has the most bars on most of their songs), it would be impossible to put on an ATCQ show without him.
I don't know the ins and outs of what's happening internally, but I am an ATCQ superfan, and it would hurt my heart to know that they are no longer rocking out at summer concerts and festivals and giving true hip-hop heads something to look forward to. All of the guys in ATCQ are my #MCM, but especially Phife for advocating for more ACTQ appearances.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.