WATCH: A Tribe Called Quest Rock a Brooklyn Basement in the Early ’90s

Can I kick it?

These days, A Tribe Called Quest are rightly recognized as one of the single most important hip-hop acts of all time. To that end, their 1990 debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, is being given the full twenty-fifth-anniversary treatment today, capped by a performance by the reunited trio on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tonight.

But there was a time when Tribe were still a small homegrown act. This live video—labelled simply as “A Tribe Called Quest live in Brooklyn, NY”—captures the frenetic energy of the group’s early days. The small but utterly hyped crowd drives Q-Tip and Phife Dawg to giddy heights, and they stoke the crowd right back: watch those people jump when the beat comes in on “Can I Kick It?”, which Ali Shaheed Muhammad strips down to its barest bones. It’s ten minutes of dizzying, electrifying music that captures the group the moment their heat began to reach a boil. It wouldn’t be long before they’d bring that wide-legged “Bonita Applebum” dance to a much wider audience.


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