Even though Tribe Called Quest broke up last year, Phife, the hip-hop trio's most underappreciated member, demonstrated his own appeal and the New York group's legacy Sunday at the Palace. During his 35-minute set, headlining a tour billed as "The Underdawgs of Hip-Hop," Phife simply stood still and rapped, but his charisma completely compensated for his lack of a dynamic stage show.
The engaging rapper even managed to score with untested selections from his forthcoming solo album, a rare feat in any genre. But it was the Quest material that drove the crowd into a frenzy. Unlike a number of popular rap groups that dwell on their hard-core tendencies, A Tribe Called Quest focused on good times, lighthearted braggadocio and themes of self-enlightenment. Hits such as "Check the Rhime" and "Award Tour" featured witty one-liners that highlighted Phife's humorous tendencies and his confidence in his rhyming abilities.