The very things that are so endearing about A Tribe Called Quest’s latest, Beats, Rhymes, and Life—the sobering recognition of life being much larger than hiphop, the chilling spareness-to-invisibility of Ali’s mix—are also what make it not much fun. It’s a tough quandary for the abstracters—trying to bridge a past as clever bohos sporting a penchant for tongue twisters and a genius for jazz loops with a present as perceived statesmen too full of knowledge to rock the house just because they’ve got the skills to do so. But if there has ever been a crew capable of crossing that bridge without losing any fizz, it’s the members of Tribe; the instinctive travels their lives have taken represents one of hiphop’s truly sterling careers. Oh yeah, and live, their worry always translates wickedly into rhythm. At 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Ballroom, 1015 Half St. SE. $23. (202) 554-1500. (Brett Anderson)

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