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A rare, hip-hop music doubleheader will come to Western New York Monday when A Tribe Called Quest and The Fugees perform at 8 p.m. in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts on the North Campus.

A Tribe Called Quest remains among the most enlightened groups in rap and hip-hop. It blends styles, including R & B, jazz, funk and soul. The trio of Q-Tip, Phife and Ali Shaheed Muhammad is willing to experiment and is not afraid to offer a softer sound than most rap acts. Tribe's versatility is on display on its current album, "Beats, Rhymes and Life." The group shows its off-the-wall style on "Motivators," a track which includes a sample of "If I Ruled the World," in addition to references to Picasso and Stephen King.

Tribe seems to be maturing. "We've always brought something new to the table," Q-Tip said recently. "And one of the things we're bringing this time is that we're 26, trying to be 26. We're not acting like 17. We're trying to grow and be more responsible and make music that represents that." The new album deals with coping with the reality. "Stressed Out" promotes hope and individual strength to deal with adversity, and "Mind Power" is a plea for personal courage. "Street Dreams" looks at the horror of drugs while "Black Girl Lost" is a poignant chronicle of the struggles of African-American women.

The Fugees, like A Tribe Called Quest, is a trio with a provocative style. Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill and Pras Michael came into their own this year. The group's national debut album, "The Score," produced the hit single and video, "Killing Me Softly." It was a remake of the old Roberta Flack hit from the 1970s, and the record established the Fugees as a power in hip-hop music.

-- Anthony Violanti

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