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A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes Call Out ‘President Agent Orange’ in Politically-Charged Grammy Performance

Variety logo Variety 2/13/2017 Seth Kelley
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A Tribe Called Quest joined Grammy newcomer Anderson .Paak on stage for one of the most politically-charged performances of Sunday night.

Amid calls to “resist” and chants of “we the people,” the hip hop legends took shots at President Donald Trump.

“I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban,” Busta Rhymes, who joined the band, said.

The group then busted through a makeshift wall — a stand-in for the one Trump hopes to build on the U.S.-Mexico border — before people of various nationalities — some wearing headscarves — took the stage and formed a line.

“All of my blacks you must go/All of you Mexicans you must go/All of you bad folks you must go,” were some of the lines Quest members rapped.

Q-Tip dedicated the performance to original group member Phife Dawg, who died in March of last year.

“We’d like to say to all those people around the world who are pushing people who are in power to represent them, we represent you,” Q-Tip said.

.Paak was nominated for the first time this year in the best new artist and best urban contemporary album categories. The Oxnard, Calif., native released his first album, “O.B.E. Vol. 1,” in 2012 under a pseudonym. His more recent recording, “Malibu,” has earned him broader recognition, including from the Recording Academy.

A Tribe Called Quest, formed in 1985, released their 2016 album, “We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service,” to much acclaim. Collaborators on the record — the hip hop group’s sixth — include Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Kanye West, and .Paak.

In addition to .Paak and Tribe Called Quest, the 2017 Grammys saw performances from Adele, Bruno Mars, Lukas Graham and many others. Other duets at the show included Daft Punk and the Weeknd, and Alicia Keys and Maren Morris.

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