Despite the heavy evolution that has embraced the hip-hop genre especially in the last decade, pressing play to a newly released album by A Tribe Called Quest would not really be preceded with skepticism. This is of course, if you have at some point engaged or at the very least, stumbled upon their music.
It has been a month since the group released their last and final project and the feedback has been jaw dropping. By golden era hip-hop standards, ATCQ can pretty much do no wrong; but with the current dabbing
panda pandemonium, making a 2016 top 50 albums list is definitely news worthy.
Known for baring socio-political issues in their music, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service did not in anyway stray from the core values that the group have always stood for. Very synonymous to the opening of a time capsule, a fragment of this body of work brings the past so close, you can almost touch it. Even worse, is the fact that not so much has changed as Q tip implied in Space Program.
The quartet subtly wove in the trends from where they left off 18 years ago, tactfully using carefully curated samples, instrumentation, guests (Kendrick, Busta, Consequence, Andre 3000, Jack White, Kanye, Talib, Anderson Paak, Elton John) and lyrics as their service tools.
Initially planned to simply be the last album, we follow the painful transitions that occasionally remind us that the project doubles as an ode to Phife Dawg, the deceased member of the group. Even making it harder to overlook is the fact that he recorded a number of verses present on the album before he passed.
Phife chose the album title. Disregarding that fore member Q~Tip swears he has no idea what it may mean, We Got It From Here Thank You 4 Your Service is everything else but cryptic.
Although the sentence reeks of their gratitude and modest exit, it was snatched from the mouths of lives that their music touched and became an integral part of. After 31 years of educating, addressing, warning and entertaining them with every theme possible that they have been or might soon be affected with…
Government, racism, hunger, corruption, freedom, discrimination, segregation, women rights and gender equality, women, pop culture, Pre Donald Trump, love, Health care, tax, art, Drugs, legislation, Injustice, Hillary Clinton, Prison, black power, unemployment, guns, education, Post Donald Trump, Loss.
…It was indeed time for a long overdue standing ovation at a glorious curtain call.
Below are a few of the many positive impressions that indicate that their token was well received.
“A Tribe Called Quest’s final album is a wistful mix of nostalgia for their golden-age past, and an inspired protest at a difficult present and future.”
“ ‘We Got It From here’ sounds exactly like what an ATCQ album should be in 2016; aware of tradition, but not stuck in the past”
“With taut and timely rhymes, twisted samples and an eclectic roster of guests the group sounds more vital today than ever. ”
-LOS ANGELES TIMES