The surviving members of A Tribe Called Quest (rappers Q-Tip and Jarobi White and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad) blazed the SNL stage this Saturday. The group performed the politically charged anthem “We The People” and the poignant “The Space Program”. We Got It From Here….Thank You 4 Your Service was released on Veterans Day (November 11th). The title is fitting of a group that stands tall as one of rap’s premier pioneers. The pain of lost member Phife Dawg is definitely felt here. However, the rapping duo trudges on well in spite of their heartache.
We Got It From Here is split into two different volumes. There was recent chatter of a new ATCQ album right after Phife Dawg passed. However, no one knew just how close the finished product was. Songs like the slinky, groove oasis “Solid Wall Of Sound” bleed classic ATCQ. Jack White, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes and Andre 3000 all lend their incredible talents to the album as well. Nonetheless, every moment of We Got It From Here, sounds carefully calculated, without feeling contrived. In fact, Andre 3000’s lengthy appearance on “Kids” just makes us yearn for an OutKast reunion even more. Despite the lack of any sure shot pop offerings here, that has never been ATCQ’s lane. They went pop without trying. They are still loved by the masses, without lying but speaking truth. The oft put, bluesy “Melatonin” is perhaps one of the best examples of this.
Although it may have been 18 years since their last studio album, A Tribe Called Quest has returned like they never left. The music on their latest release is militant without being offensive. Their lyrics are particularly serious, without being too preachy. Phife Dawg, who actually named the album, would be extremely proud. “Black Spasmodic” is arguably his best moment on the album. Here, he shares lyrical space with Q-Tip. Q-Tip raps about how Phife would have wanted the group to continue their rich legacy. Sadly, this will be the group’s last studio album. A Tribe Called Quest, we thank you for your many years of service to Hip Hop. More importantly, we thank you for always staying true to your artistry.