The Tribe Disbands

The Tribe & Big Cats! say goodbye with one last show.

Minneapolis rapper Chris Hooks, Rapper Hooks, works on a new track on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at Waterbury Studios in Minneapolis. After four years with Spencer Wirth-Davis as The Tribe & Big Cats, Hooks and Wirth-Davis are performing one last show together at the Triple Rock on Friday.

Emily Dunker

Minneapolis rapper Chris Hooks, Rapper Hooks, works on a new track on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, at Waterbury Studios in Minneapolis. After four years with Spencer Wirth-Davis as The Tribe & Big Cats, Hooks and Wirth-Davis are performing one last show together at the Triple Rock on Friday.

Patrick Maloney

Last summer, The Tribe and Big Cats! released its third full-length album, “Space.” It got tens of thousands of downloads, and the hip-hop duo took a successful tour of Midwest campuses and bars. Now, less than a year later, they’re ready to go their separate ways.

 “We got to the point where it makes more sense to work individually,” said Spencer Wirth-Davis, known better by his DJ name Big Cats!

“It had already changed so much since it started — different members and different sounds,” he said.

When the group released its debut full-length, “Forward Thinkers, Movers, Shakers,” in 2011, The Tribe half of the group consisted of Truth Be Told and DJ Pete. Since then, the former has changed his name to Rapper Hooks, and the latter left the group entirely not long after the first album dropped.

While “Forward Thinkers, Movers, Shakers” kicked off with dissonant synth sounds, heavy drums and an overall bad-ass feel, the group’s newest effort, “Space,” offers a more melodic, jazzy feel.

One thing that stayed the same throughout the group’s discography was its ability to make “conscious” rap without coming off as melancholy. The lyrics were introspective; the beats sounded most natural banging out of house party speakers. With the disbanding, Minneapolis loses one of its more fun indie-rap groups.

Fortunately for the pair’s fans, the break doesn’t mean the two won’t release any more music.

“We’ll still be putting out music together,” Wirth-Davis said.

Hooks said it’s more of a name change than a breakup.

“Cats! and I work in the same studio, and he has a few beats on my new record.”

That upcoming CD, due out in May, will be called “All Black Jesus,” and will feel more like a raw rap album than Hooks’ previous efforts.

“Minneapolis is pigeon-holed in this one sound,” Hooks said. “This album doesn’t sound like a Minnesota album. It doesn’t have that lo-fi, boom-bap sound.”

Wirth-Davis, unlike Hooks, isn’t focusing on any one thing in particular. After releasing his solo work, “For My Mother,” last year, he’s spreading out and doing production for Toki Wright, Kristoff Krane and Dem Atlas. “My style depends on who I’m working with,” he said. “Every emcee has a different delivery and style.”

Although both parties are ready for the break, they have few regrets.

“We wanted to make five albums, and we did. We wanted to play the First Avenue Mainroom, and we did,” Hooks said. “We just accomplished all of our goals.”