If you needed a reason to smile in the face of sadness, A Tribe Called Quest has your back. The hip-hop group took over Saturday Night Live and did a moving tribute to Phife Dawg in the process. That’s not the only thing the music world is chatting about. Apple AirPods are pushed back to a farther release date, Sting reopened the Bataclan in Paris, Alicia Keys shared a beautiful music video with her family, and Leonard Cohen’s son posted a moving tribute to his father online.
There’s plenty to talk about from this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, but undoubtedly the biggest music moment came from A Tribe Called Quest. The hip-hop legends took the stage to perform music off their first album in 18 years. Phife Dawg passed away earlier this year, and in a moving tribute, they busted out shirts in his name, a giant painted mural with him on it, and turned the microphone to his 2D face for him to rap his lines on “We the People.” Onlookers in person and at home (or maybe just me) got teary-eyed during the number. It was moving and uplifting, the exact rally cry for unity that America needs right now as it divides itself over politics. Watch footage above and then head to NBC’s website to see the other song they performed, “The Space Program,” which saw Busta Rhymes come onstage to lay down guest verses.
Good news for people who love their headphone jack: Apple’s newest product, Apple AirPods, are delayed. The wireless in-ear headphones were originally slated to be purchased in October for $159, but now they may not even be out in time for Christmas. They’re being produced in December, which means even if they built and packaged the AirPods in a month’s time, they wouldn’t be ready until January of 2017 at the earliest. Breathe a sigh of relief, music fans, but don’t forget that the newest iPhone 7 will require the use of wireless headphones no matter what. [Consequence of Sound]
In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them.
In November of 2015, the Paris terror attacks shocked the world. The start of it all, a shooting at music venue Bataclan where 89 people were killed during an Eagles of Death Metal concert, became the image of the attack. One day before the one-year anniversary of the shooting, Sting performed at Bataclan, marking the first show on its stage since then and the proper reopening of the venue. “We have two tasks: to honor victims who lost their lives and to honor music and life,” Sting said onstage, then adding in French, “We will not forget them.” That we will not. [Rolling Stone]
On Friday of last week, Alicia Keys released her first album in four years, Here. The album focuses on family themes, political struggles, and racial tension, showing her dive into some tough terrain with impressive confidence. Arguably the happiest song off the LP, “Blended Family (What You Do for Love)” which features A$AP Rocky, just got a proper music video and it elevates the song to new heights. In the clip, her own “blended” family plays, showing the beauty of a multiracial marriage and that love has no color. It’s a deeper understanding of compassion, support, and family, and all the various forms they can take. Check it out above and then send a message to your own family letting them know you love them, too. [Rolling Stone]
Leonard Cohen passed away this week and many were stunned by the loss of yet another true music icon. Cohen’s son, Adam, took to Facebook on November 13 to share thoughts about his father. “There’s so much I wish I could thank him for, just one last time,” he wrote. “I’d thank him for the comfort he always provided, for the wisdom he dispensed, for the marathon conversations, for his dazzling wit and humor. I’d thank him for giving me, and teaching me to love Montreal and Greece. And I’d thank him for music; first for his music which seduced me as a boy, then for his encouragement of my own music, and finally for the privilege of being able to make music with him. Thank you for your kind messages, for the outpouring of sympathy and for your love of my father.” To say the least, it’s moving. Read it in full above. [Entertainment Weekly]
See you back here on Wednesday for another Music Dispatch!
Image: Saturday Night Live/NBC