Ubiquitous Love Tribe Presents Love Vibes, Vol. 1
It’s 9:48 and DJ Diaspora has just flipped a sped up record of God’s Plan by Drake into a deep Nipsey Hussle cut. “We going for 'Nip” whispers Diaspora, the DJ moniker for Ubiquitous Love Tribe member Osiris, as the mood at the bar shifts from celebration to remembrance.
This is night one of Ubiquitous Love Tribe’s month long residency at the Virgil in Silverlake and Hussle’s message of community through positivity looms throughout the entire night. Tonight, however, is not a time of mourning for the rapper who passed away Saturday as the result of an isolated shooting incident outside his storefront in Mid City. Rather the night was a celebration of a local hero who championed Los Angeles’ eclecticism and creativity and the Love Tribe was at the forefront of this festivity.
Ubiquitous Love Tribe tonight is fronted by its 5 core members Mana Moves, Leiah, Anubis Black, Osiris, and Nahhphet, the latter two who also double as the night’s DJs. Each member evokes a confidence independent of group mentality but together their energy is infectious. The rap collective, conglomerated by their penchant for ethereal soul samples and smarter-than- their-own-good lyricism, take the stage early invoking the sense that tonight they are the pallbearers and the coordinators for Los Angeles: a culture that hides a genuine sense of authenticity under a guise of apathy.
On the dance floor the Tuesday bar crowd and the slowly trickling fans of the group drunkenly sway as rappers onstage spit nepotistic lyricism, some of the best this city has to offer. “You ain’t fuckin with my kinfolk” spits rapper Anubis reminding everyone at the bar that tonight is a family affair. As deeper cuts from their 2019 debut album Banana Bread are performed, the smiles on each performer’s face evokes a sense of camaraderie that could care less whether they were onstage or in each other’s homes. The last song of their set is “Influence” a banger off of their debut album that kicks off tonight’s celebrations as the floor slowly fills up with fellow artists, friends, and drunken wanderers from next door’s Tiki Tuesday.
“TwoLips is in the house!” yells Osiris, now back on DJ duties, introducing the platinum haired singer and artist who is also sharing tonight’s bill. TwoLips, originally from New Mexico, represents a transitional artist who now adopts the tropes of today’s modern hip-hop and makes them fully her own combining trap production with her eclectic ear and her knack for pop choruses.
Tonight she is joined onstage by her bassist and two dancers both donning masks designed by local artist Sarah Lew. The performance seems more a breathing art piece than a routine musical presentation. At one point all individuals on stage pause striking a uniform pose making the audience question whether or not there was ever any movement at all. “Something to celebrate tonight is that we’re all here, we’re all alive, and we’re all together and for whatever reason this is where we’ve chosen to be all together and that’s some magical shit,” mutters the singer when asked about her take on tonight and her statement carries over for the mood of the entire night -- comfort through shared revelry rather than mourning.
The night is capped off by a solo performance from Love Tribe member Leiah accompanied by a lone classical guitar as the night’s mood shifts back from escapism to remembrance. “We should’ve been doing exactly what Nip was doing, but this should be a spark and I’m gonna do my part” speaks the female MC and her entire set was rooted in Hussle’s standard of self-excellence and community.
Hussle’s message of fellowship is exactly what the first night of Ubiquitous Love Tribe’s residency entailed: that whether on stage or off there was a shared sense of present experience. Everyone there was united simply by the fact that they were sharing the moment together. There was no sense of hierarchy or condescension rather for a brief few hours on a Tuesday night in Los Angeles we all felt like kinfolk.
This piece is by Sean Lee. Follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leee.