18 years on from their last album, The Love Movement, American hip hop quartet A Tribe Called Quest have dropped the perfect swansong titled by the late MC Phife Dawg, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service.
For decades, the Five-Foot Assassin was suffering from being a “funky diabetic” which eventually caught up to him, leading him to pass away March 22 2016.
At the time of his death, fans were oblivious to the fact the group had reunited for their sixth album on which they had worked on since a TV performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2015 had sparked their motivation, and got them back in Q-Tip’s million-dollar recording studio.
Following the release of the album, MC Q-Tip says he just wants to celebrate [Phife].
The album was far from expected, making it a sweet surprise for any fans of the Tribe who had long given up hope of any new material.
There has been plenty of positive reception around it, and quite rightly so.
The album has the familiar feel of 1990s Tribe, but also a more progressive, evolved sound of 2016 Tribe – they are driven, they are motivated, and they are making music because they’re inspired, not simply to add on to their discography.
The track listing is flawless as songs melt into one another. A particularly exciting transition is between the first two tracks, ‘The Space Program’ and ‘We the People’.
Moving from a sample of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka – a sweet reminder of icons lost in 2016 – to the deep synth opening on ‘We the People,’ the mood switches towards a more excited feel.
Being marvels of the music industry, they pulled some strings, and gained some incredible guests to join the project. First of all, original member, DJ, and producer Jarobi White re-joined after having left following the release of their debut album to pursue a career as a chef. Other special guests include Elton John, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, André 3000, Busta Rhymes, and Consequence. An all-star cast apt for such an important comeback in hip hop. And while some contributors may be more prominent, they all add a vital little something.
Listening to the album, there is a definite sense of it being their final work as they make shout outs to the artists of this generation whom they see as their potential heirs.
Numerous topics are addressed, from gentrification to a tribute to the late Phife Dawg with the song ‘The Donald’. This album is truly honest, but keeps an air of light-. A pièce de résistance in hip hop.
Phife, Q-Tip, Ali, Jarobi… thank you for your service; we’ve got it from here.