After 18 years of silence, A Tribe Called Quest gives the last installment of their legendary career entitled We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.
This New York native hip-hop group formed in 1985. The group’s signature sound is jazz-infused rap music.
Despite an absence of nearly two decades from the hip-hop forefront, We Got It From Here manages to give fans who grew up with A Tribe Called Quest exactly what they want, while still sprinkling in contemporary twists for new listeners.
We Got It From Here… kicks off with the first track titled, “The Space Program”. Phife Dawg’s lyrical content is not only unifying but also makes the listener feel a part of the hip-hop revolution. He sings, “It’s time to go left and not right/ gotta get it together forever/ gotta get it together for brothers/ gotta get it together for sister… for non-conformists and one hitter quitters/for Tyson types and Che Figures”.
Unfortunately, Phife Dawg whose real name is Malik Taylor died at age 45 from diabetes-related complications.
While in Los Angeles promoting the album, band members Q-Tip and Jarobi made a radio appearance on Power 106’s The Cruz Show, where they briefly spoke about losing Phife. At a recent SNL performance, Jarobi said it has been tremendously difficult to go forward preforming without Phife.
“It’s cathartic… it’s healthy to be able to go through it like [this], but you’re watching a band in grieving,” Q-Tip said.
It was a huge shock too for fans, especially when they heard a new Tribe album was planned for release. The Documentary Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest gave the audience more insight on the amount of friction the group was dealing with internally.
The album’s first single and second song is “We The People”. In the opening scene of the music video, Q-Tip comes into view in front of more than a dozen microphones rapping the lyrics to the masses like a speech. In the video, people throughout the streets of New York discover then begin to follow microphone cables to the voice’s location.
The songs “Dis Generation” and “Kids” seem to be crafted for the ears of the Millennial generation.
“Dis Generation” features Busta Ryhmes. In it, Q-Tip raps, “Talk to Joey, Earl, Kendrick and Cole/ gatekeepers of flow/ they are extensions of instinctual soul…” The song celebrates the young and talented individuals of this generation while passing the torch of hip-hop to the next.
A record like “Kids”, featuring André 3000, was made to tell Millennials that even the grown-up authority figures giving kids a hard time today, were once the kids of the past. Q-tip paints the picture of the generational gap with lyrics like, “So when they questioning you bout who or who you ain’t boning/ complaining that you always moaning/ never saying good morning/ storming out the house/ and slamming doors like you pay the bills/ they been through it too though/ they were kids like you though…”
A Tribe Called Quest’s music is driven by lyrics, unlike a lot of today’s music, which is driven by melody. We Got It From Here… proves hip-hop isn’t dead, but was simply taking a nap.
If you want to be reminded of the ‘golden-age’ of hip-hop without digging in local record store crates, have a listen to We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.