“RIP Phife Dawg,” Q-Tip begins with measured anger. "Y'all GRAMMY motherfuckers, fuck y'all."
Tip is, of course, referring to the GRAMMYs snubbing A Tribe Called Quest’s heralded 2016 album, We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service, which saw the legendary '90s rap group bring their sound not into 2016, but to 2116.
In a now-deleted Instagram post—the first in a string of four—Q-Tip continues to lay into the committee: “Yesterday we was on y’all stage, y’all fuckin busted y’all ass to try and get us out there and perform! You think a n***a wanted to fuckin' go out there and perform after I lost my man? We closed y’all show and we don’t get no fucking nominations? The last Tribe album? My man is gone! We been doing this shit for fucking years! Y’all n****s don't fuckin' recognize.”
While the 2018 GRAMMYs are more hip-hop-heavy than ever before, Tribe's snub serves as a friendly reminder that it’s always one and a half steps forward, ten steps back for the Recording Academy.
Award shows are notoriously tone-deaf, but Q-Tip is rightfully angry. Every time a show tries to send a clear message about diversity, social equality, and the like, it usually gets muddled and major threads get lost.
“You think it's a fucking caveat because it’s the first time that no white man is nominated in no major categories,” Tip says, referring to this being the first time since 1999 that no white man has been nominated in the Album of the Year category. “We were the most black, cultured group out,” he adds. “That's what we stand on, that's what we represented.”
GRAMMY nomination or not, A Tribe Called Quest has, and continues to, influence and shape the direction of hip-hop. As a group that deserves to be given their flowers on a daily basis, no award will take away or aptly capture all that Tribe has done for the genre.